By Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby
An additional 30,000 children across Papua New Guinea have participated in the Global Handwashing Day today, up from last year’s 9,000.
Colgate Palmolive General Manager, John Wood, said the increase means more students are realising the importance of good hygiene through the awareness campaigns in schools.
“Last year, we celebrated the event in a small room and this year, we decided to come to a school and observe the Global Handwashing Day”, Wood said.
He added that over 9,000 students participated last year, but this year saw three times more.
This year’s focus is to minimise the number of children suffering from diarrhoea and pneumonia related diseases in Papua New Guinea.
Statistics of children suffering from health diseases due to poor health practices or unhealthy lifestyle continue to remain high in PNG.
While younger children are more vulnerable to these diseases, children in schools are also exposed to the same bacteria.
A public-private partnership, which started in 2008 between Colgate Palmolive, the health and education departments and the United Nations organisations aims to reduce the high cases of children dying from diarrhoea and pneumonia.
“As part of Colgate Palmolive’s year long program, Bright Smiles, Bright Future (BSBF) and Clean Hands, Good Health (CHGH), the Protext team have placed extra focus on hand washing techniques during school visits this month”, Wood said.
Hand washing with soap is dangerously low in many countries, UNICEF reports.
At least 800 from the 1,400 diarrhoea related deaths worldwide are attributed to inadequate water, sanitation or poor hygiene.
In Port Moresby, the representatives from the concerned organisations gathered at Ted Diro Primary and observed the Global Handwashing day.
Although a public demonstration was staged on the correct process of washing hands, parents and teacher were urged to continue the practice at home.