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Countries Engage In Public Awareness Activities Surrounding Global Handwashing Day

“From Ethiopia and Yemen to Bolivia and Vietnam, millions of children [on Tuesday took] part in the sixth annual United Nations-backed Global Handwashing Day, driving home the message that the simple use of soap and water can slash highly preventable diarrheal diseases that kill 1,400 children under five every day,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “‘Washing hands before eating and after defecation drastically reduces the spread of diarrheal disease and has far reaching effects on the health and welfare of children and communities,’ the global head of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programs, Sanjay Wijesekera, said in a message marking the day, whose theme this year is ‘The Power Is In Our Hands,'” the news service notes (10/15).

In Sierra Leone, a network of non-governmental organizations known as the Urban WASH Consortium, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Water Resources organized the country’s first flashmob of about 200 dancers to attract the public’s attention to the issue, VOA News reports. In addition, “[a] short film is being put together by Concept Multimedia, a local film company, and the Urban WASH Consortium, which will include footage of the flashmob and some key hygiene messages,” the news service notes (De Vries, 10/15).