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Half a minute can defeat diarrhoea!
Half a minute can defeat diarrhoea!

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HealthPhone: Half a minute can defeat diarrhoea!

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Together we can defeat diarrhoea. It is in our hands.

Worldwide, diarrhoea kills more children under 5 than malaria, measles and HIV combined. But luckily there is an easy way to change that statistic drastically: Hand-washing with soap before eating and after going to the toilet can reduce the risk of contracting diarrhoea by almost half.

Let's defeat diarrhoea - it is in OUR HANDS!

The critical times for hand-washing:

• Before preparing food
• After using the toilet
• Before eating
• Before feeding children

Hand-washing with soap: the facts

Globally, diarrhoea is a major threat

Preventable diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children under 5, claiming more young lives than malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles combined. Diarrhoea spreads wherever there is a lack of sanitation and hygiene because germs from human faeces end up on people's hands, in their food and in the water. Half of all cases of malnutrition are caused by repeated diarrhoea or intestinal worm infections.

Let's bowl out diarrhoea: Hand-washing with soap is cheap and effective

Poor sanitation and hygiene have both short-term and long-term health consequences. Children are especially affected by a lack of these services because it affects their growth and future economic potential. Promoting hand-washing with soap has been identified as possibly the most cost-effective health intervention to reduce the global burden of disease. Studies by the WHO show that hand-washing with soap after using the toilet and before eating reduces the risk of getting diarrhoea almost by half. Latest research indicates that hand-washing with soap before preparing food is particularly important to prevent childhood diarrhoea.

Using soap to wash hands also diminishes the risk of contracting pneumonia, respiratory diseases (such as bird flu), trachoma, scabies, skin and eye infections. Overall, it helps families, and especially children, to stay healthy and improve their nutrition status. Contrary to common belief, rinsing hands with just water is not as effective against killing germs as washing them with soap.

Despite these benefits, this simple and cost-effective habit is not widely and consistently practised.

WASH United
This PSA co-produced with UNICEF India is part of WASH United's campaign around the ICC World Twenty20 2014 cricket tournament.

HealthPhone: Half a minute can defeat diarrhoea!

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6 April, 2014


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