Why Iganga’s pediatric wards are empty
By Sarah Namutamba
Hand washing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia. A number of epidemiological studies suggest that the universal practice of handwashing with soap could reduce the risk of severe diarrhea by 48 percent.
The Uganda government had for years been promoting handwashing with soap through the National Handwashing initiative. The World Health Organization and Ministry of Health recommended hand washing with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer as the best ways to prevent further spread of the corona virus.
Proper handwashing with soap and water plays a major role in the prevention by deactivating and removing virus particles from the hands.
Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soaps to wash their hands. This has been changed by putting emphasis on the use of soap and water during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 in December 2019 and in Uganda March 2020, hand washing has been emphasized as a cost-efficient and effective preventive measure.
Corona virus disease (Covid -19) is spread through respiratory droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
A number of households adopted a tippy tap – a three or five litre jerrycan attached to strings and sticks. Tippy taps have been go-to solutions by many in the homes.
Regular hand washing with soap/detergent and water has not only helped in reducing the spread of the corona virus but has also impacted on reducing childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, cough among others.
During our Busoga Health Forum community and stakeholders’ mapping, we observed that most pediatric/children’s wards are empty, and even at the out- patient departments you could hardly find children who may have come to seek for treatment. This has greatly contributed to the reduction in crowding of health care facilities most especially at the Out Patient Departments and children’s wards.
The health workers attributed the reduction to the improvement in parents’ hygiene through hand washing.
Where- as there might be other factors for fewer sick children seeking treatment, hand washing remains significant towards the reduction of common childhood hygiene related illnesses.
“What used to make children fall sick was poor hygiene of the mothers, now that they wash their hands frequently, it has contributed to the reduction of child illnesses.” Mr. Kiwanuka Paul, the in-charge Iganga Islamic Health Centre III emphasized.