When I became President, I surrendered the right hand for Ugandans and the left is what is mine," Museveni said. "I use the right hand only when I return home and after thoroughly washing it with soap."
PIC: President Yoweri Museveni washed his hands to launch the Global Hand Washing Day celebrations in Kamuli district on October 14, 2016. Photos by Ronald Mugabe
President Yoweri Museveni has used the Global Hand-washing Day celebrations in Kamuli district, eastern Uganda to teach Ugandans how to wash their hands.
Museveni, who arrived at the function at 2:00pm, started the day by washing his hands with soap in front of everyone. Later in his speech, the President urged all Ugandans to wash their hands after visiting toilets and before eating food.
"And when you are washing your hands, ensure that all the ridges in between your fingers are cleaned thoroughly with soap," the president said.
According to the statistics presented by the Minister of State for Water and Environment Mary Kitutu, only 36% of Ugandans wash their hands with soap after visiting toilets.
Museveni told the gathering that Uganda could reduce her diseases burden by 47% if the people can adopt the global hand washing practice.
The water minister called for a change in attitude towards hand washing.
"Many times when you tell Ugandans to wash their hands, they will ask you whether you are going to give them food to eat," Kitutu said.
The President also took a few minutes during his speech and narrated how he learnt and adopted the practice of washing hands over 57 years ago.
Museveni said he went for confirmation and the presiding reverend told him to use his left hand to receive the holy bread instead of the right hand that is usually performing all other duties.
"I learnt a lesson from the reverend and later when I became President, I surrendered the right hand for Ugandans and the left is what is mine," Museveni said. "I use the right hand only when I return home and after thoroughly washing it with soap."
The President also told the gathering that unwashed hands are a biological weapon that spreads poison and transmits diseases from one person to another.
The President tasked health workers in districts to spearhead an awareness campaign on preventing diseases, like the cancer of the liver which he said can be caused by eating cereals that are poorly stored.
"I love ground nuts but I understand the value of living a health life and that is why I don't eat them when they are out of their shells because I am not sure of how they were stored," he said.
Primary school pupils who sang at the function appealed to government to increase access to clean and safe water in the country and reduce taxes on soap to make it more affordable for Ugandans who would want to wash their hands.