Ugandans have stopped washing hands in post-Covid era – report

Some of the Village Health Teams demonstrating how to wash hands at Katogo health center II during the Global hand washing day. Photo/ Jessica Sabano

What you need to know:

  • Early this month, the Ministry of Health confirmed an outbreak of Cholera in the eastern part of Uganda, which claimed two lives and left others hospitalized

The Ministry of Health has revealed that they have observed a reduction in the number of Ugandans practising hand washing, which they say has partly contributed to the outbreak of cholera in the post-COVID-19 era.

Early this month, the ministry confirmed an outbreak of Cholera in the eastern part of Uganda, which claimed two lives and left others hospitalized.

Speaking at the closure of the WASH SDG program Tuesday, Dr Herbert Nabaasa, the Commissioner Department of Environment Health, said the outbreak of cholera in Mbale, Namayingo and Kayunga districts is due to the reduction of hand hygiene among the communities. 

“We have seen a decline in hand hygiene and sanitation practices and we believe that if we deploy the same energy we used during the Covid-19 pandemic, we shall prevent the outbreaks of emerging diseases such as Cholera which has hit part of the Eastern Region,” he said.

He added: “Following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, a lot happened including putting in place standard operating measures such as hand washing which helped to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Mr Nabaasa, however, revealed that the ministry is working with development patterns to increase public awareness by developing several strategies to see that the practice of washing hands remains in people’s minds.

At the same event, Mr Samuel Andrew Kizza, Program Specialist WASH and Change said the WASH program which was launched in 2018 targeted Kamuli, Buyende and Nebbi districts which had low access to water and sanitation.

“We have registered a 67 per cent increase in access to sanitation and basic hand materials and also seeing more people washing hands, production of liquid soaps markets, and having access to clean water and latrines,” he said, adding that everyone in Uganda should have access to clean water and good sanitation.

He, however, noted that the country doesn’t have a clear road map to achieve SDG 6 access to clean water by 2030.