Global Handwashing Day : ‘64% Pakistanis are using improved sanitation facilities’

The country is among only 95 countries to have met the global targets for sanitation

Our Correspondent October 17, 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan has successfully reached the Millennium Development Goal for sanitation, and 64 per cent of Pakistanis are now using improved sanitation facilities, announced United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) field office chief Dr Nargiza Khodjaeva.

Speaking at the ‘Global Handwashing Day 2015’ event organised by Unicef, Health And Nutrition Development Society (HANDS) and Sindh local government department at the Pearl Continental hotel on Friday, Khodjaeva said that Pakistan is among only 95 countries to meet the global targets for sanitation.

Thousands of precious lives are being lost every year because of various diseases and several lives can be saved by adopting the habit of regular handwashing, said Sindh local government minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah.

Read: Global Handwashing Day: Experts call for integrated efforts to improve ‘WASH’ sector

Referring to the Global Handwashing Day, Khodjaeva said that it focuses on children and schools to promote the habit of sanitation. She said that 1.7 million children, below the age of five, die because of diarrhoea and pheumonia every year. “Handwashing with soap can reduce pneumonia infection by about 25 per cent,” she added.

The special assistant to chief minister for culture and tourism, Sharmila Farooqi, said that handwashing is an easy way to prevent diseases. “It is the duty of parents to develop handwashing habits,” she said, adding that we all have to disseminate this message to the people.

Sharing the importance of sanitation facilities in public schools across Pakistan, HANDS infrastructure and wash general manager Mustafa Zour said that 20,300 schools in Sindh do not have any such resources. Similarly, 9,673 schools in Balochistan, 4,663 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 3,389 schools in Federally Administered Tribal Areas and 3,693 schools in Azad Jammu Kashmir lack such basic facilities, he said. “However, in Punjab around 95 per cent schools provide these facilities,” Zour added. Nearly 250,000 children die each year because of diarrhoea, Zour said, adding that the figure can be reduced if people know the importance of washing their hands.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.


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