Celebrating Hand Hygiene: Clean And Safe Care First Begins With You

This photo shows a man sitting in a wheelchair, washing his hands at a wash basin with liquid soap.

32-year-old Roman Hossain advocates for hand hygiene to increase awareness and knowledge on how to prevent infections in his community in Savar Municipality.
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Hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions to prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Hand washing can, quite literally, save lives – there has probably never been a better moment in history to be aware of this fact. On 5 May 2020, CBM joins the World Health Organization’s ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’ campaign to highlight hand hygiene.

Supporting awareness-raising campaigns to contain the Corona virus

In Bangladesh, Roman Hossain and his fellow campaigners are working tirelessly in the fight against the Coronavirus - they are distributing leaflets and disinfectants in Savar, their hometown just outside the capital Dhaka. With megaphone speakers, they roam through the streets and explain the importance of washing hands thoroughly and regularly and keeping distance to protect oneself from the COVID-19 virus.

32-year-old Roman is part of a voluntary civil protection committee in his community. The committee was set up and trained by the Centre for Disability in Development (CDD), a local partner of CBM in Bangladesh.

Many people in our community cannot read or write and live in abject poverty. With this campaign, we have created awareness of the importance of hygiene. Because hand washing can save lives.
Roman Hossain

People with disabilities are often forgotten

This photo shows a man spraying hand disinfectant on the hands of a rikshaw puller in Bangladesh. There are 2 women in the rikshaw. Everyone is wearing masks.

Volunteers are conducting disinfection activities in Savar Municipality to create awareness among the community on COVID-19 prevention measures.

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With their work, the members of the committee are able to reach those who otherwise are overlooked or forgotten. People with disabilities are particularly at risk from the virus. "They generally suffer the most from poor health care and often receive aid last, if at all," explains CBM CEO Dr. Rainer Brockhaus. "Often they cannot stock up essential material or reach health wards on their own. They must not be forgotten in the Corona crisis." says Dr. Brockhaus. The volunteer committee, where Roman Hossain is involved, is a perfect example of how people with disabilities can participate actively. As a child, Roman was seriously ill - today he uses a wheelchair. He knows very intimately the concerns of those affected, what it means to be dependent on the help of others.

Dr. Brockhaus further clarifies - "To protect people with disabilities in this crisis, we need to make sure that they have access to essential material like water, soap and disinfectants in addition to food." CBM has been working to strengthen health systems in developing countries for many decades now. We invest in the training of medical professionals and in better hygiene standards. In the current crisis, awareness-raising and information dissemination is a priority – this is where Roman Hossain and the other committee members can make a key contribution.

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