Islamabad: To commemorate Global Handwashing Day, the Ministry of Climate Change, GIZ, UNICEF, Unilever, and WaterAid organized a “National Dialogue on Behaviour Change & Hand Hygiene for All in Pakistan.”

This event was organized to raise awareness and commitment to promoting handwashing as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. The event included the launch of the National WASH Behavior Change Communication (BCC) strategy, and further dissemination of the Hand Hygiene for All roadmap to provinces. And a panel discussion around the same. Panelists included Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Ms. Naz Baloch, along with experts from UNICEF Pakistan, GIZ, WaterAid Pakistan, and Unilever.

While speaking at the event, Ms. Naz Baloch, Parliamentary Secretary on Climate Change, urged sector partners to play a collective role and educate the masses about adopting and developing the habit of handwashing. “Government is committed to promoting and implementing the Hand Hygiene for All roadmap and will always support such initiatives in the future. But now is the time when the support of WASH Sector partners is critically needed”, she further added. Mr Ziggy Kugedera, WASH Specialist from UNICEF indicated that according to the 2020JMP report, over 40 million people in Pakistan lack access to handwashing facilities with water and soap, and disparities exist between the poor and the rich. At least 90% of those in urban areas have access to basic handwashing stations, while 74% have in rural areas. The situation has been exacerbated by the floods which washed away WASH facilities. “Already, diarrhea infections especially among children have been reported in flood-affected areas, hence handwashing becomes more important to save lives. This is everyone’s responsibility, including government, private sector, men, and women including children” he remarked. (PR)

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