A report from World Vision International Cambodia said 80 per cent of people living in 24 districts in nine provinces, which are the target areas for its clean water project, have built places to wash their hands, an increase of 26 per cent compared to 2018.

The nine provinces where the NGO has implemented its water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) project are Kratie, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu and Takeo.

The report was released to coincide with the Global Handwashing Day held this year under the theme "Our Future is at Hand – Let's Move Forward Together".

Citing a research conducted by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, the NGO said washing hands with soap had helped more than 165,000 people to survive from death caused by diarrhea.

Handwashing also helps prevent other diseases such as acute respiratory syndrome as well as Covid-19.

Nog Davith, a senior WASH expert at World Vision Cambodia, said the NGO had been promoting handwashing by providing soaps and other handwashing materials in addition to spreading education messages to the public in cooperation with local authorities.

“Although the number of families that have a place to wash their hands has increased, World Vision still works closely with local authorities and relevant stakeholders to promote handwashing, turning it into a daily habit for people in the community,” he said.

Davith said the NGO had provided soaps, detergent powder, toothbrushes, water jars with tape for handwashing to 28,100 vulnerable people.

Another 275,088 families had also received soaps and detergent powder to wash their hands to prevent the spread of Covid-19.