In a bid to contain coronavirus in the country, a mobile handwashing campaign was launched in Dhaka yesterday, with an aim to reach low-income group in different parts of the city.
Initially, the campaign -- Handwashing on Wheels -- included 10 units of rickshaw-van decorated and equipped with multiple sinks, liquid soap, and water-tanks.
Besides, the units are equipped with digital tabs which will display awareness messages through songs to encourage people wash their hands as a precautionary measure.
About 20 more such units are expected to be added to the campaign soon.
The initiative has been taken by Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Dhaka Wasa), WaterAid and Sweden Embassy. Wasa will supply water for each unit.
Floating people, street vendors, pedestrians, rickshaw-pullers, and drivers of public transportation are the key targets for this campaign, said organisers.
The units will be moving in the city's populated areas including Gulshan, Jatrabari, Mohakhali, Gabtoli, New Market, Karwan Bazar, Gulistan, Farmgate, Uttara, and Malibagh.
Inaugurating the campaign at Wasa Bhaban in the capital's Karwan Bazar as chief guest, Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Tazul Islam said it will help create awareness among people about the importance of handwashing.
He said the government has taken several steps to curb the spread of coronavirus while private sector, including donor agencies, are also working to combat the virus.
"The government is fighting the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic with efficiency and due caution," he added.
Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan said to help people during the dire time of Covid-19 pandemic, Wasa has come up with different initiatives, including facilitating easy access to handwashing across the capital.
He hoped the initiative will make handwashing convenient for the people during the pandemic.
Hasin Jahan, country director of WaterAid, said handwashing is suggested as the first line of defence and a basic step to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
The campaign is an attempt to reach handwashing facilities to people of all tiers of the society, she said.
It will ensure easy access to handwashing facilities for the people on the move in Dhaka, she added.
She also said primarily they have started the campaign in Dhaka and it will be taken outside the city if the initial campaign brings success.
Muhammad Ibrahim, additional secretary of Local Government Division, also addressed the ceremony.
At least 1,329 new infections were recorded while 34 people died from Covid-19 in the country in 24 hours ending 8am yesterday, according to a press release of the Directorate General of Health Services.