Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) educated 22 pre-primary learners (including caretakers) at Nonzame Educare Centre about proper hand wash techniques on 10 October 2018.
This crèche, which is situated in Thembalethu, George, benefited from an ongoing joint initiative between the GRDM Municipal Health Services Section and the Western Cape Department of Health. The awareness programme has been up-and-running since 2016.
The goals of the programme are straightforward – to instill preventative habits, such as proper hand wash techniques and to prevent disease spreading into the minds of children.
During the visits, EHPs also focus on topics such as food safety, the importance of washing hands, personal hygiene, water quality management and safety, waste management, as well as chemical safety. These topics form part of the “Health surveillance of premises and health and hygiene awareness” key performance area of the Environmental Health Practitioner.
According to Ms Khanyisa Shoto, an EHP and coordinator of the initiative, children learn best through their senses and benefit from doing, seeing as well as hearing. Ms Shoto added: “Our teams work together with principals to explore the obstacles that childcare facilities face in terms of environmental health issues”.
The EHPs who also formed part of the initiative were Mr Gcobani Tshozi, Mr Lusizo Kwetshube, Ms Ivy Mamegwa, Ms Wandile Magwaza, Ms Jessica Erasmus, Ms Lana Don and Ms Sive Mkuta.
Tips on proper hand washing
Follow these steps:
- Wet your hands with running water — either warm or cold.
- Apply liquid, bar or powder soap to a cupped hand.
- Lather well.
- Rub your hands, palm to palm, vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
- Rub your thumbs and in between your fingers. Wash up to the elbows.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel.
It is important to dry hands thoroughly after washing because some bacteria remain on a person’s hands after washing, and these are more easily spread via wet hands than dry ones.