KARACHI: At the time when countries across the globe are celebrating Global Hand Washing Dayon Saturday, most of the children in the city's slums will be suffering from diarrhea with no doctors or a clinic to attend them in the vicinity.
Sahiba, a housewife and resident of Allah Wali Colony, a small slum near a big sewerage nullah located just opposite of the Sindh assembly, is unable to figure out what to do for the better health of her minor daughter Rimsha, as she often suffers with diarrhea.
It is not only Sahiba but almost every mother in the 539 officially declared slums of Karachi who are exposed to unhygienic conditions. Most of these slums have literally become garbage dumps and at many places residents have no proper sewerage system and some of them deficate openly.
According to an estimate by UK based global charity, WAterAid, in Pakistan around 25 million people defecate openly leading to lack of water and sanitation. Also, according to a report by World Heatlth Organization (WHO) in Pakistan 46 percent population does not have a hand washing facility at their homes.
"It's high time to talk about the world's simplest life-saver, handwashing, on the Global Handwashing Day. I cannot stress more on handwashing as this low cost and effective measure plays a key role in preventing from infection and diseases," said Siddiq Ahmed Khan, Country Director, WaterAid Pakistan.
The purpose of Global Handwashing Day (GHwD) is to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to wash their hands with soap. The day is dedicated to raise awareness about handwashing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.
The day was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates related to respiratory and diarrheal diseases by introducing simple behavioural changes - hand washing with soap.