Jurong East marketgoers get handy cleaning tips

Marketgoers and hawkers were shown the correct hand-washing method by members of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital's infection control team and then had the opportunity to test their knowledge.
Marketgoers and hawkers were shown the correct hand-washing method by members of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital's infection control team and then had the opportunity to test their knowledge. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - How clean do you think your hands are after you wash them?

Patrons of Yuhua Village Market in Jurong East got to find out on Tuesday morning (May 8), as part of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital's (NTFGH) hand hygiene community outreach initiative.

Held from 8.30am to 11.30am, the programme hoped to catch both marketgoers and hawkers alike in raising awareness about the importance of hand hygiene.

The event was held in conjunction with World Hand Hygiene Day, last Saturday.

Studies show that washing one's hands can help to reduce the likelihood of contracting gastrointestinal diseases and respiratory infections.

It is an essential health practice people need to consciously adopt in everyday life, said Dr Surinder Pada, director of infectious diseases and chairman of the infection control team at NTFGH.

Dr Pada said: "From dirty tissue paper to dirty utensils, as long as you have touched something that may have viruses on it, you should practise hand hygiene.

"The biggest thing that has made an impact on medicine was not the advent of antibiotics, but things like clean drinking water and vaccinations for children. Hand hygiene is one of those public health measures that can make a big impact."

Marketgoers and hawkers were shown the correct hand-washing method by members of NTFGH's infection control team. They then had the opportunity to test their knowledge.

Before washing, they had to apply a handrub with special fluorescent dye.

If their washing was up to the mark, the surfaces of their hands would glow under ultraviolet light. The areas that were not cleaned properly would remain as dark patches.

Madam Guo Kok, 69, worked in a coffee shop before retirement and already knew hand-washing techniques. But she said the session was a good "refresher course".

"Sometimes people, the elderly especially, are set in their ways, so public events like this remind people that hand washing is something to be taken seriously."

Fellow marketgoer Saw Ngek Geok, 63, said: "There is a lot of construction and dust here so I need to pay attention to hygiene."

NTFGH hopes to carry out more public health community outreach initiatives like this one in other areas in the west.