PUBLISHED — 5th, May 2023

The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Executive Director Dorothy Kisaka, has called for greater action to improve hand hygiene in Uganda.

Speaking at an event to mark World Hand Hygiene Day on Friday at the Kiswa Health Center IV in Kampala, Kisaka urged people to start practicing good hand hygiene in their homes.

"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," Kisaka said.

World Hand Hygiene Day is observed on May 5, of every year aiming to promote the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infection and promoting good health.

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 health care facilities don't have basic hygiene services at points of care and toilets and over 688 million people visiting health care 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 health care 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 hands effectively.

Dr. Beth Amy, an Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) expert at Resolve to Save Lives, commended KCCA for its efforts towards 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 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 care givers to take hand hygiene as 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.

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