Ms Dorothy Kisaka, the executive director of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has rallied Ugandans to always practice regular hand hygiene.
Through regular hand washing, Ms Kisaka said a lot of Ugandans can prevent numerous diseases which sometimes push them to the hospitals.
“Charity begins at home, hand hygiene begins at home. If it is not happening at home, it will not happen in health facilities. So we need to start at home,” she said.
The ED made these remarks while speaking at the celebrations of World Hand Hygiene Day on Friday at the Kiswa Health Center IV in Kampala on Friday. She stressed that good hand hygiene is essential to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and that everyone has a responsibility to take action.
Kisaka highlighted the worrying trends revealed by recent studies, which show that globally, 50% of healthcare facilities don’t have basic hygiene services at points of care and toilets and over 688 million people visiting healthcare facilities don’t have access to any hygiene services.
A recent study by local scientists in the greater Kampala metropolitan area showed similar trends.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Ebola outbreak in Uganda have highlighted the importance of hand hygiene, especially for health workers who are at the highest risk of acquiring and spreading infectious diseases.
“COVID-19 brought it to our faces that hand washing is a great way to prevent infectious diseases. This is a day we want to amplify this message because it is so critical,” Kisaka said.
Kisaka emphasized the need for health workers to observe the 5 Moments of Hand Hygiene, which include washing hands before and after touching a patient or their surroundings and before and after a procedure.
She urged all healthcare givers to prioritize hand hygiene and to sensitize people who seek care from health facilities to embrace good hand and general body hygiene.
She emphasized the importance of the SMARTCITY agenda, which seeks to make Kampala more inclusive, safe, sustainable, efficient, resilient, and ultimately a better place to live, work and play.
“I believe Kampala City will be a healthy and vibrant city if we all accelerate this action together,” she said.
Kisaka concluded by thanking the pupils of Nakivubo Blue Primary School who presented a poem and song about handwashing. The pupils also demonstrated how to wash their hands effectively.
Dr. Beth Amy, an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) expert at Resolve to Save Lives, commended KCCA for its efforts toward promoting handwashing in the city.
“Handwashing keeps families and communities safer and happier. As a society, we can have a better tomorrow through handwashing,” Amy said.
The Director for Public Health and Environment, Dr. Daniel Okello, also emphasized the importance of handwashing as a daily practice in every home and community.
“We have established hand washing points in schools so that pupils can wash their hands. Homes and all other places should have handwashing facilities and it is important that people use them,” Okello said.
At least 14 waterborne hygiene facilities and rain harvesting facilities have been established at various KCCA health centers to improve hygiene and sanitation.
He noted that Hand hygiene saves millions of lives every year when performed at the right moments during health care delivery.
Okello revealed that in KCCA, there is an unwavering commitment to rallying all Health caregivers to take hand hygiene a critical priority area and to in turn sensitize all our people who seek care from our facilities to embrace hand and general body hygiene.