The Ministry of Water and Environment together with different development partners have once again boosted the National handwashing Initiative (NHWI) by donating various handwashing promotion items to different communities both within Kampala and outside Kampala in response to Covid-19 pandemic.
NHWI is currently hosted by the Ministry of Environment and was founded in 2006 by the National Sanitation Working Group (NSWG), basically to promote handwashing with soap in Uganda as one of the most effective and inexpensive means of preventing diarrheal diseases and many others.
According to the Commissioner Rural Water supply and Sanitation Department at the Ministry Eng Joseph Eyatu Oriono, the effectiveness of this initiative has played a great role in improving sanitation levels in different communities of Uganda.
Currently, the handwashing coverage stands at 36 per cent in the rural areas, 40 per cent in the urban areas. Latrine coverage is 77.2 per cent in rural areas while 87 per cent in urban areas.
“To complement the Covid-19 response efforts, the NHWI with the support from a various partner such as the Water and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSCC) through International Water and Sanitation Center (IRC), Unilever-Uganda and World Vision has embarked on distribution of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials, hand washing facilities as well as soap to vulnerable people, high-risk populations like the traffic Police officers and other essential workers within greater Kampala metropolitan area,” said Eng. Eyatu.
While receiving the handwashing materials from different partners like World Vision and Unilever Uganda on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary-Minister of Water and Environment, Alfred Okot Okidi called upon other stakeholders to continue spreading the message on handwashing with soap because it’s one of the ways to curb the spreading of many diseases.
“The Ministry of Water and Environment is very grateful to water supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, Unilever-Uganda and World Vision for the support and partnership towards the Covid-19 response and we look forward to future opportunities for such collaborations. We should also encourage the population to practice improved sanitation and hygiene not only at their homes but also at the workplaces,” said Okidi.
WSSCC through IRC sponsors radio and TV talk shows (with guest appearance), develops and airs television adverts in at least 2 languages (English, Luganda), provide essentials for promoting hand-washing, documents and disseminates sanitation and hygiene innovations and improvement in addressing Covid-19 among others.
Odur Moses Ongom the Disaster Management Manager World Vision Uganda said that handwashing is the primary way on how communities can avoid certain diseases and in such a time of Covid-19 vulnerable communities must be supported with handwashing materials.
Joanita Mukasa the managing Director of Unilever Uganda said that in year 2000, the habit of washing hands in Uganda was not common however currently there is a shift, as most people now take handwashing seriously especially currently where doctors revealed that handwashing is one way of preventing the spread of Covid-19.
World Vision contributed 60 Hand Washing facilities, Unilever Uganda contributed lifebuoy soap costing over Shs10 million.
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