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'UAE residents told to clean up their act'.

UAE residents have been told to wash away their dirty habits and stop the spread of disease.

The message from health experts comes after a survey revealed that half of us claim to be too busy to wash our hands and one in four only scrub them when they look or feel dirty.

Twenty-four per cent of the 1,000 respondents said they don't even freshen their fingers before cooking. The findings of research into the personal hygiene habits of people in the UAE and Saudi Arabia were revealed yesterday ahead of the launch of an Arab Hygiene Council.

A survey revealed that half of us claim to be too busy to wash our hands and one in four only scrub them when they look or feel dirty

The council will begin its task today, targeting folk with grubby fingers. "Hand washing could save more lives than a single vaccine or medical intervention," said Professor John Oxford, the chairman of the Global Hygiene Council in Dubai yesterday.

Diseases that can spread as a result of poor personal hygiene come in various forms, including influenza; food-related diseases such as E.coli, listeria and salmonella; cholera; polio and hospital-borne diseases like C.difficile and MRSA.

Professor Oxford said countries have different health problems but all the diseases are a worldwide threat and can spread quickly.

Highlighting the recent HABIT study, funded by Reckitt Benckiser ME, the makers of Dettol anti-septic products, Professor Tariq Madani, of the King AbdulAziz University Hospital in Saudi Arabia said the message about basic hand washing must be the thing spreading across the Middle East, not the germs

He said: "Fifty-six per cent of the respondents in the Middle East (the UAE and Saudi respondents) said they were 'too busy' to wash their hands; 33 per cent said it took too long and 24 per cent said they were 'too hungry' to wash their hands before cooking or eating."

He added: "And 38 per cent said they only need to wash their hands when they look or feel dirty." The new hygiene council will team up with Dubai Health Authority and other health bodies across the Middle East to take the basic hand washing message to hospitals and schools.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 30, 2012
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