'Cleanliness is Godliness' says Raima on Global Handwashing Day

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New Delhi, Oct 15 (UNI) On Global Handwashing Day, Bollywood actress Raima Sen brought forth the old Indian adage -- Cleanliness is Godliness -- to press her point on cleanliness saying more needs to be done to create awareness in the country on the issue.

Demonstrating tips on washing hands and inculcating hygienic practices to school children, Ms Sen said hygiene was critical to one's development and leading a disease-free life.

''The simple practice of washing hands with soap, especially after toilet, can reduce diarrhoeal disease by over 44 per cent and respiratory infections by 30 per cent,'' she told the children while distributing personal hygiene kits to them.

Speaking on the occasion, organisers NGO 'Sulabh International' founder Dr Bindeshwar Pathak said the aim of Global Handwashing Day is to educate people about washing hands with soap, especially after using the toilet and before having meals.

''The practice of hand washing with soap is on top of the international hygiene agenda this year and this campaign begins with children.'' Killer diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia are caused if hands are not washed properly with soap, he said adding, ''Children are more vulnerable to these diseases; hence the focus is on them.'' Informing that 'Sulabh' had already launched an extensive 'wash campaign' by forming school sanitation clubs in seven countries, Dr Pathak said Diarrhoea kills more than 1.5 million children, under five years of age, each year but the simple act of handwashing can reduce this by 45 per cent.

Year 2008 has been declared as the International Year of Sanitation by the United Nations.

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