The Ministry of Health, through its Public Health Department, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is observing Global Hand Washing Week in Belize from the 15th to 19th October 2018. This initiative is in commemoration of Global Hand Washing Day which was observed on Monday, 15th October worldwide under the theme, “Clean Hands - a recipe for health”. The day is set aside to motivate and mobilize communities to improve hand washing techniques and habits.
As a part of the celebration, the Public Health Department intervention seeks to increase food handlers’ awareness of the importance of hand washing with soap (liquid) as a key factor in disease prevention.
The aim will be strengthened through two interventions:
1. The incorporation of a practical demonstration on proper hand washing technique in the food handlers training program, using the World Health Organization 11-step process. This activity will engage the food handler in demonstrating knowledge transfer and skills development. While the practical skills demonstration is a first-time event, it is now established as a mandatory activity of the regular Food Handlers Training and Certification Program.
2. The surveying and improvement of food establishment hand washing facilities to ensure food handlers and customers have access to equipment and materials to support proper hand washing. This is being done to ensure the availability of proper hand washing facilities to prevent contamination of food, by both food handlers and consumers, with harmful bacteria thus reducing foodborne illnesses.
These two activities are being supported by the dissemination of hand washing posters and fliers in all districts by the Public Health Inspectors and it is part of our ongoing efforts throughout the year.