According to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, hand washing with soap, even before preparing food, is rarely practiced in many poor countries – leading to the rapid spread of deadly bacteria, diarrhea and pneumonia in young children.
While Americans take washing their hands for granted, thousands of children in Asia die every year because their families don’t wash their hands properly, mission agency Gospel for Asia (GFA, www.gfa.org ) reported marking Global Handwashing Day, October 15.
Under the theme “Clean Hands for All,” Global Handwashing Day promotes the vital importance of proper hand washing with soap to prevent diseases and save lives.
“In many parts of Asia, simple hygiene practices that are commonplace in America are virtually unknown,” GFA founder, Dr. K.P. Yohannan, said. “Because of this, millions of children suffer, and thousands die every year.”
Each year, more than 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die from chronic diarrhea, states a special GFA report titled “Solutions to Poverty-Line Problems of the Poor and Impoverished.” Proper hand washing practices, however, can slash incidents of potentially fatal diarrhea, says the report.
“Hand washing with soap is a ‘do-it-yourself solution’ that prevents infections and saves lives,” said Yohannan, whose Texas-based ministry has served the poorest of the poor in Asia for four decades. “The governments throughout Asia are doing good work to combat hygiene-related diseases. The need is vast, however, and much still needs to be done.”
“Teaching children the importance of washing their hands with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of preventing disease,” Yohannan said. “It can save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter.”
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SOURCE: Assist News