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Statement by the UNICEF Representative in Guinea: Global Handwashing Day

Conakry, 14 October 2013 Global Handwashing Day is celebrated on October 15, every year. This year, the celebration of Tabaski, which occurs on the same day, gives us an additional opportunity to discuss the practice of washing hands with soap before handling food for this years celebrations. Washing hands, with soap is the simplest and most effective way to stay healthy. If everyone washed their hands with soap and water before preparing food, before eating, before feeding children, after using the toilet and after cleaning their baby, we could reduce diarrheal disease in both adults and children in Guinea by 44 per cent! This would save thousands of lives. Additionally, handwashing contributes to the reduction of many diseases such as respiratory Infections, eye infections, and skin disease---which is why the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations supports this important International Day Less than half of the Guinean population (48.3 per cent) reported washing hands with soap and water after using the toilet, while just over a third wash before eating (37.4 per cent). Only 23.9 per cent wash with soap after cleaning and changing babies. We must take action to increase these numbers today. To preserve our health and that of our families, let us wash our hands with soap--often. Mohamed Ayoya, MD, PhD Representative UNICEF Guinea For further information please contact: Timothy La Rose (+224) 631 70 14 60/61 Communications Specialist UNICEF Guinea, Conakry Almamy Barry UNICEF-Guine, Conakry (+224) 622 344 869 Follow UNICEF Guinea: