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Clean Hands for All

Celebrating the Global Handwashing Day 2019 at Primary Schools in Sisattanak and Chantaboury district

Vientiane, 16 October 2019 – Increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Therefore, the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports has celebrated the Global Handwashing Day 2019 at Sathaphone Primary School in Sisattanak district of Vientiane Capital. The celebration was opened by the Director of Education and Sports Division of Vientiane Capital, Mr. Somphou Keopanya, who emphasized the importance of handwashing, stating that “if children are healthy and study in a healthy learning environment, they will be able perform to their fullest capacity in school and can go on to share their knowledge with their families.”

The theme for Global Handwashing Day 2019 is “Clean Hands for All,” which aims to remind us of the importance of inclusivity when addressing handwashing disparities. Everyone should have access to both handwashing facilities and effective handwashing promotion programs, otherwise it can put individuals at greater risk for diseases that impact their health, education, and economic outcomes.

The celebration was organized by representatives of the District of Education and Sports Bureau, Ministry of Education and Sports, in close cooperation with the Lao Ministry of Health, with support from the Fit for School program, implemented by GIZ and SEAMEO INNOTECH. A similar event was also organized for October 16 at Neerada Primary School in Chantaboury district.

The Fit for School program focuses on measures that are simple, scalable, sustainable, and integrated into the education system. The program supports children in acquiring healthy habits and promoting sustainable behaviour change through the implementation of daily routines, such as daily group handwashing with soap.

In Lao PDR, the Ministry of Education and Sports has been implementing the Fit for School program since 2011 and is the driving force behind the successful scaling up of water, sanitation and hygiene in schools across the country. As of September 2019, 3,372 schools across the country are already implementing daily group handwashing and toothbrushing activities as part of the Fit for School program.