The Arab Hygiene Council (AHC) is alerting UAE families of the importance of protecting themselves against serious illnesses which arise due to poor hygiene practices in the home.
Results of a recent study conducted by antiseptic brand Dettol indicate that 68 per cent of homes tested in the UAE fell significantly below their counterparts in India (66 per cent), South Africa (23 per cent), UK (46 per cent) and USA (34 per cent).
The information comes following the annual conference of the Global and Arab Hygiene Councils, which took place in Dubai this week, during which medical experts from around the world met to discuss the leading health and hygiene issues currently impacting communities across the globe.
The Dettol home truths study was just one of the key topics discussed during the one day conference, which also included briefings on the hygiene and infectious diseases landscape; the control of emerging infections, such as the MERS Corona Virus (MERS-CoV), which has impacted the Middle East in particular over the past year; the impact of an unhealthy home, and the on-going importance of hand hygiene.
AHC member Dr. Muhammad Halwani, Consultant in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Saudi Arabia said: “The results of the recent Dettol home truths study has strongly emphasised the need for on-going education in the UAE regarding proper hygiene practices at home. The study involved the analysis of key areas in the home, such as kitchen taps, counters, food preparation boards, cloths, bathroom body flannels and sponges, toilet flush handles and telephones, for levels of bacteria.
The UAE presented results well below satisfactory levels, with indicator bacteria such as E. Coli, Pseudomonas app. and Staphylococcus aureus present in high quantities throughout kitchens and bathrooms.
Chairman of the Global Hygiene Council (GHC), Professor John Oxford, Professor of Virology at St Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK, said: “We know that good hygiene including hand washing, good respiratory hygiene and disinfection of commonly touched surfaces can help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses such as the MERS-CoV. Practising good hygiene is everyone’s responsibility, and something we can do easily for ourselves.
“Emerging infectious diseases are a key area for both the GHC and AHC. An outbreak can cause huge destruction to society industries including travel and tourism and of course the medical community. The results of the Dettol study, along with other findings from this week’s conference, have highlighted an urgent need for increased education regarding the impact of poor home hygiene on the family and society’s health.”
The Global and Arab Hygiene Councils annual conference is key for facilitating medical professionals from around the world, to come together and combine regional knowledge with international best practice, which ensures that communities stay fully aware and prepared for health issues that may potentially threaten the region’s population.
Another key issue on the agenda was the continued presence of the MERS-CoV in the Middle East which has contributed to approximately 176 deaths. In an effort to limit the spread of the “SARS-like virus” both Hygiene Councils have recommended continuous hygiene awareness amongst communities, especially those travelling regularly.
Each year, the Hygiene Council meets to discuss current infection issues and the hygiene situation in member’s countries, and discuss the latest scientific international research. Members use these meetings to understand where their combined efforts should be focused, and create recommendations to help the public to protect themselves and their families from infection. The Council’s include top experts in hygiene and hygiene-related fields, including microbiology, virology, infectious disease, immunology, and public health.
During 2013, Dettol’s ‘Mission for Health’, with the support of the AHC and the Ministries of Education and Health, successfully delivered interactive hygiene education to over two million families, across the Middle East through the on-going schools and new mums programmes.