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).