UINCEF Ghana has teamed up with UNILEVER Ghana to help reduce Diarrhea and Pneumonia in Ghana, with a new and simple hand wash technology known as ‘’Tippy Taps’’.
The two organization a set to reach over half a million pupils with the culture of hand washing, beginning with providing the Tippy Taps to over 3,900 schools in the Volta region.
Tippy Taps is a simple hand washing station that can be made with commonly available material. It consist of a jerry can and a mug or gallon hanging on mounted sticks, which releases a small amount of water each time it is tipped.
The technology, which comes in different models, uses only 40-50ml of water per hand wash on the average, compared to 500-600ml of water when using the faucet or normal taps for hand washing.
Statistics available at UNICEF indicates only 21% of Ghanaians consistently wash their hands with soap, resulting in greater majority of people who do not adhere to a hand washing culture falling victim to diarrhea and respiratory infection.
UNICEF says over 10,000 children in Ghana are affected by diarrhea and pneumonia every year, while globally, 3.5 million children die from serious respiratory infections and diarrhea annually.
But UNICEF is convinced that with proper hand washing with soap and running water, over 1.2 million could be saved, and part of the measures to achieve this is the introduction of the Tippy Taps technology.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WAS) Officer at UNICEF, Gabriel Adu-Owusu said the Tippy Tap Campaign emphasizes five key hand washing opportunities; before we eat, after visiting the toilet, before breast feeding children, before cooking and after cleaning a child who went to toilet.
He say consistent hand washing with soap under running water can reduce respiratory infections up to 40%, reduce neonatal deaths due to preventable infection by a third, adding that this can also curb absenteeism from school by up to 54%.
National Coordinator of School Health Education Program (SHEP), Nana Esi Inkoom, observed that many schools in Ghana do not have toilet facilities and that leads to open defecation around such schools, which causes cholera and diarrhea in children.
She therefore called on parents and community leaders to help the schools that do not have toilet facilities to get one to help curb the outbreak of diseases.
In a speech read in her behalf, Volta Regional Minister, Helen Adwo Ntosoo asked Ghanaians to do away with the myth that food does not taste nice when you wash your hands with soap before eating.
According to her, in 2013, only 46% of the 36,700 basic schools had access to drinking water leaving over 19,000 schools without potable water.
She expressed the hope that the anomalies would be corrected to protect the affected school children from contracting communicable diseases