The hand hygiene narrative took center stage as people in Kenya celebrated the 2022 edition of Global Handwashing Day. Bringing together handwashing experts and stakeholders, the Nairobi event created a platform for local and international partners to come together to emphasize the importance of improved hand hygiene to the public. The event was hosted by Amref Health Africa and the National Business Compact on Coronavirus (NBCC), with WSUP and PS Kenya as co-organisers. Amref-NBCC, WSUP and PS Kenya are the current grantees of the Unilever and UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office funded Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) II in Kenya.
Amref Africa Group CEO Dr. Gitahi Githinji noted in an opening video message that while Covid-19 and other diseases, conflict and climate change are among a confluence of challenges that threaten the health of our communities, we are far from defenseless. We celebrate Global Handwashing Day today and throughout the week in the knowledge that handwashing, in combination with other preventative behaviours such as social distancing, wearing a mask, cleaning surfaces, getting vaccinated and seeking health assistance, when necessary, really saves lives.
Leading the charge, Chair of the NBCC, Founder of Brands on a Mission, handwashing expert and co-founder of the Global Handwashing Day Prof. Myriam Sidibe observed that handwashing with soap and water is an effective way to prevent diseases and save lives. For that reason, handwashing is the single most important preventative behaviour for us and our communities. We need hands washed today, tomorrow, and every day.
One of the key highlights was a panel discussion on the topic of hand hygiene and the importance of combining various hygiene behaviours with vaccination. The session moderated by Ms. Janet Mbugua was comprised of Prof. Myriam Sidibe, Dr. Margaret Njenga, PS Kenya’s Chief Operating Officer, Ms Jackline Kiarie, Regional Programme Manager - Global Health Security Unit, Amref Health Africa and Vikas Mehta, the Chief Executive Officer of Ogilvy Africa.
There were equally powerful commentaries from three key partners - Equity Afia, Rotary International and Copia followed by a speech of Prof. Myriam Sidibe and comments from Unilever.
The speaking components of our event were ended with a vote of thanks by the wonderful Ambassador Dr. Josephine Ojiambo.
Before moving on to a simultaneous handwashing exercise across all three countries a pledge of commitment to the Global Handwashing movement was signed by everyone attending the event led by Prof. Myriam Sidibe and Unilever.
This year’s Global Handwashing Day, with the theme Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene, marked the 14th edition of this important advocacy day established to endorse handwashing with soap at home, in the community and around the world. Handwashing with clean running water and soap is proven to be an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and their spreading and therefore save lives. Acknowledging this, handwashing was an important part of the activities of that day, with our top guests taking a lead to demonstrate proper handwashing with soap followed by all our guests. The aim was to get as many people as possible to wash their hands to mark the day.
The celebrations also brought together NBCC digital partners and other stakeholders. The NBCC partners included Pulse Live, Lixil, Shujaaz, AdSimu, AIfluence, and Project Hand Up who show cased their work at the vibrant expo center. They were joined by Copia, Equity Afia, Inua Dada foundation and Rotary International who were wonderfully represented.
The Nairobi event was held as a precursor to the government-led celebrations that were held in Homa Bay County.
#Tumenawa #OshaMikono #GlobalHandWashingDay