PRC to celebrate Global Handwashing Day
To reduce incidence of infectious diseases among children, Philippine Red Cross (PRC) enjoined all its chapters nationwide to conduct massive demonstrations of handwashing and hygiene promotion on October 15 until the end of the month.
The activity aims to make handwashing a group activity in 300 schools or one school per week and in 200 communities or one community per week.
PRC also encouraged its chapters to include handwashing promotion activities in its inaugural ceremonies of recently constructed water facilities and toilets.
Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective health interventions in preventing cases of diarrheal and acute respiratory infections which cause millions of deaths among children in developing countries every year.
According to World Health Organization, diarrhea is the fourth leading cause of deaths among children less than five years old, accounting for around 10,000 child deaths every year.
However, research suggests that handwashing with soap can cut diarrheal cases by 45%.
"Handwashing with soap is said to be the easiest and cheapest method of saving lives of millions of children worldwide. Still, many children seldom practice it. The challenge is to make it a habit in homes, schools and communities not only in our country but also across the globe," said PRC Chairman Richard Gordon.
Since its launching in 2008 which was designated as the International Year of Sanitation by the UN General Assembly, Global Handwashing Day has been strengthening the call for improved hygiene practices worldwide.
In 2008, Senate Resolution No. 627, authored by Gordon, was passed urging the Department of Health, Department of Education and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to actively participate in the implementation of the first Global Handwashing Day.