17 Oct 2016 18:50pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 17 OCT (NAMPA) Nearly 66 per cent of the Namibian population lack access to proper toilet facilities and of which 50 per cent practice open defecation.
Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernhard Haufiku and United Nations Childrens Fund Representative, Micaela De Sousa said this at the observation of the Global Hand Washing Day in Keetmanshoop on Monday.
In a speech read on her behalf, De Sousa expressed concern at the countrys failure to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on access to sanitation.
Namibia is one of the countries with the lowest levels of sanitation coverage in southern Africa, with one out of five schools lacking toilet facilities and nearly half of all health facilities lacking running water and soap.
The country met the MDG target on water access with over 84 per cent of the population able to access safe water.
De Sousa said a lot of diseases could be prevented by good hygiene.
Hand washing alone can effectively kill germs and reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by over 40 per cent. This simple action is one of the most cost-effective interventions for reducing child deaths. It saves more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.
In a speech read on his behalf, Haufiku said the use of the bucket system for human waste disposal still practiced in the //Kharas Region, contributes to the spread of diarrhoeal diseases.
He said Government again had prioritised the provision of safe water and proper sanitation in the latest development plans and urged citizens to wash their hands with soap and water.
This simple hygiene routine has immense benefits for the health status of our communities. It can reduce respiratory infections and the incidences of water-borne incidences such as cholera and polio.
The minister then urged citizens to wash hands at homes, schools, hospitals, prisons and during wedding ceremonies and funerals.
Particular times to wash hands are after using the toilet, changing baby nappies, gardening or handling animals, and before preparing food and eating.
This years Global Hand Washing Day was commemorated under the theme, Make hand washing a habit.