Journalists have been asked to give prominence to process-centered stories on behaviours, attitudes and policies to ensure compliance with the washing hands with soap initiative to prevent the spread of diseases.

Ms Lamisi Dabire, Communications and Campaign Officer of Water Aid Ghana, who made the call, appealed to the media to move beyond writing event-centered news on hand washing.

She was speaking at a forum in Ho organized by the Extension Services of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency to hype hand washing as a crucial tool for stemming communicable diseases.

The forum dubbed: “Encounter with the Media”, was one in a chain of the activities planned to commemorate UN declared Global Hand Washing Day, marked every October 15, which would be observed in Ghana this year in Ho.

Mr Victor Kwawukume, Volta Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association said Journalist would live up to their role as agents of change in society.

Mrs Theodora Adomako-Adjei, Coordinator of the Agency, said that the hand washing with soap programme as launched in 2003, had encouraged more people to wash their hands with soap.

Master Christian Amevor, a basic school pupil, appealed to the media to pay attention to hand washing since it was equally important as politics and crime.

He said stories on hand washing should not be tucked into corners of newspapers or given less prime periods on news and broadcasts programmes.

Master Amevor appealed to the media to ensure that stakeholders, especially government provide the people with potable water.

Mr Mathew Agbenyega Draffor, Volta Regional Disease Surveillance Officer of the Ghana Health Service, expressed worry that cases of communicable diseases had been on the increase in the Volta Region.

He said diarrhea cases in the Region rose from 35,054 in 2008 to 140,781 in 2009, and 24,914 between January and June this year while cases of enteric fever (typhoid) for the same period was 6,260, 7,762 and 3,762.

Mr Draffor said for pneumonia, there were 4,875 cases in 2008, 6,520 in 2009 and 3,080 between January and June this year.

He said there was more work to do especially as new diseases such as H1N1 had added to the threats on lives.

The event was characterized by poetry recitals, singing and drawing competitions on hand washing by children from schools, including the Gbi Special School for the Intellectually Disabled.

Source: GNA

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