Comrade! Have you washed your hands today?
Personal hygiene is underrated these days and that seems to affect health adversely.
Lives lost due to lack of personal hygiene like the simple act of washing one’s hands are overwhelming.
Studies have shown that public places, like public toilets, bus parks, handrails, and surfaces of personal effects like mobile phones, watches, etc easily have disease-causing bacteria on their surface.
Diarrhea, Typhoid, and the common cold are some of the infections and diseases that manifest as a result of poor hygiene.
Rick Johnston, a technical officer at the WHO/Unicef joint monitoring said the WHO has estimates of the burden of disease attributable to unsafe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (abbreviated to “WASH”).
Data according to WHO’s website, a journal paper, and a primer for health professionals showed that 1.2 million deaths globally were caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and, hygiene in 2016.
The impact of poor hygiene on health is numerous as well as dangerous. The biggest contributor was a diarrhoeal disease, which caused 828,651 deaths, and acute respiratory infections came after which was responsible for 370,370 deaths.
‘Very conservative estimate’ says the WHO expert.
WASH-attributable diarrhoeal deaths could be associated with poor water, sanitation, hygiene, or a combination, while WASH-attributable acute respiratory infection deaths were only related to poor hygiene, according to the WHO. Acute respiratory infections comprised pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and influenza.
“If we group the diarrhoeal deaths attributable to poor hygiene (165,198) with the acute respiratory infection deaths, we have a total of 535,568 deaths [a year] attributable to poor hygiene from these two diseases, which translates to an average of 61 deaths per hour,” Johnston said.
He added that, because this did not include any other diseases that poor hygiene contributed to, the average was “a very conservative estimate”
A major problem in developing countries is deaths from poor hygiene they are well connected to poverty, poor enforcement of environmental hygiene, and poor personal hygiene habits.
The following should be done to reduce these deaths:
1. Reduce poverty broadly through various methods and policies
2. Intensify understanding of hygiene-attributable diseases
3. Reintroduce personal hygiene awareness and exercises in schools.
4. Hand washing should be sensitized in public places like schools, churches, societies, organizations, and institutions.
5. Parents should play their part in ensuring that their children become actively involved in developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
So, comrade, have you washed your hands today?
(Sources: allafrica.com and WHO)
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