'Tippy Taps' key to maintaining hygiene: Johnson

02 Nov 2018 12:50pm
WINDHOEK, 02 NOV (NAMPA) – The use of ‘Tippy Taps’, a low-cost invention that can be used for the maintenance of frequent hand-washing, could help in the promotion of better hygiene in rural and peri-urban settings.
Following the outbreak of Hepatitis E in the country, handwashing has emerged as one of the most feasible ways through which hygiene can be maintained.
This is the view of United States (US) Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, contained in a media statement on Friday.
A Tippy Tap is a simple invention in which a five litre plastic container is filled with soapy water and tied to poles with strings, using a straight stick placed on the ground to act as a pulley when washing hands.
It is mainly effective in areas with limited water or in rural settings where proper sanitation and hygiene is limited.
Johnson said while the provision of piped water and sanitation facilities are needed, simple interventions such as using a Tippy Tap provides an immediate and low cost solution in areas where access to water is limited.
She said the US Embassy in Namibia, through the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention Namibia office, is committed to continuing its support of the Ministry of Health and Social Services and its partners in addressing the Hepatitis E outbreak.
“We encourage the ongoing efforts to decrease the spread of the virus. One immediate and practical response that we hope everyone can work towards in their daily life is good handwashing practices,” said Johnson.
The US Embassy joined the health ministry in increasing awareness for Global Handwashing Day during a recent visit to the Oshana and Omusati Regions, where 10 community-based anti-retroviral sites were opened.
During the visit, Ambassador Johnson and the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Bernard Haufiku, each took a moment to wash their hands using a Tippy Tap, to demonstrate its effectiveness.
Global Handwashing Day, celebrated annually on October 15, is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
Many households in rural areas, especially at villages where open defecation is still practiced, are already fitted with the low-cost Tippy Tap as part of efforts led by the ministry.
Since September 2017, over 3 400 suspected cases of Hepatitis E have been attended to at various health facilities across Namibia, with 31 deaths reported.