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Government officials, NGO partners, youth activists and UNICEF come together to celebrate on Global Handwashing Day

Bhubaneswar: 16/10/20; The Minister of ST&SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes, Government of Odisha Jagannath Saraka launched a campaign for SSD school students to promote hand hygiene and awareness on Global Handwashing Day on Thursday.

The launch took place during a webinar jointly organised by the STSC Department and UNICEF. Government officials, partner agencies, grassroots workers, youth activists among others participated in the webinar.

Speakers from allover emphasized the importance and need for minimal touch handwashing stations especially at the time of COVID-19 at schools and other public institutions.

Every year on 15th October, Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is observed as a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap, and triggering lasting change from the policy-level to community-driven action since 2008.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role hand hygiene plays in disease transmission. It provides a reminder that a seemingly simple act as washing hands with soap is an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and ensure better health outcomes overall.

This year’s Global Handwashing Day theme is Hand Hygiene for All, calling for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene now and for the future.

The webinar focussed on the need to ensure everyone, particularly those in rural areas and in schools, had access to hand hygiene facilities including handwashing facilities, regular water supply, soap, and alcohol-based hand rub. In addition, the webinar also stressed on encouraging behavior change to adopt healthy hygiene practices and called for strengthened coordination, regular and financing for water and sanitation hygiene facilities, and services.

Shri Jagannath Saraka also inaugurated a minimal hand touch handwashing station at the premises of the Rayagada Collectorate and stressed on the importance of handwashing in our daily lives. He said minimal hand touch handwashing facilities would be set up in all schools and hostels of Odisha run by STSC department

Ms. Ranjana Chopra, Principal Secretary ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department, Government of Odisha in her keynote addressed the importance of health, hygiene, and sanitation for human development. In her talk she mentioned food supplements, alone cannot overcome the issue of malnutrition from Odisha, it is very important to have basic hygiene and sanitation facilities to reduce malnutrition in the state.

Mr. B. Parmeshwaran, Director DWS, PR&DW Department GoO, IAS, talked on Swachch Bharat Mission-2 and Jal Jeevan Mission and the role of Panchayati Raj Institutions for ensuring access to Water and Sanitation in institutions and households.

Ms. Monika Nielson, Chief of  Field Office, UNICEF Odisha Field Office said, “Handwashing with soap is the first line of defense to avoid the spread of infections, and the COVID 19 situation has highlighted this for us again. ”

Member of UN Secretary General’s Youth Advisory Group on climate change Ms. Archana Soreng said, “There is a lot of traditional knowledge and wisdom related to climate conservation. Tribal communities often follow practices that help them harvest water and boost agriculture.

During this month-long campaign, different activities/ events would be held at village/ students, Block/ District, and state-level from 15th October (Global Handwashing Day) to 19th November 2020 (World Toilet Day).

About Ashok Palit

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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