SINGAPORE: The Health Promotion Board (HPB) has launched a Hand Hygiene Programme in primary schools to encourage students to wash their hands correctly.
This follows a surge in the number of cases of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) this year.
To date, there have been 31,590 cases compared to 12,300 cases over the same period last year.
HFMD is an infectious viral infection characterised by symptoms such as fever, sore throat, mouth ulcers, rash, lethargy, poor appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea.
The eight—step technique ensures all areas of the hands are thoroughly washed with soap.
HPB estimates that hand washing can reduce cases of infectious diseases such as HFMD by about half.
It is getting students to be Health Ambassadors to remind their classmates to observe a high standard of personal hygiene.
Timon Ho, Primary 5 student at Chongzheng Primary School, said: "Always wash hands after (touching) door knobs and others because there’s a lot of germs on them as a lot of people are touching the same knob to open the door and to close the door."
Ang Hak Seng, CEO of Health Promotion Board, said: "We are reinforcing our personal hygiene education in the pre—schools and also in the primary schools ... Our studies have shown that 14 per cent of the HFMD cases actually affect our Primary 1 and Primary 2 students.
HPB hopes to reach out to 200 primary schools through the programme, which also includes an interactive roving skit, over the next three years.
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