Court users appeal for handwashing facilities

Kumasi, Some court users have expressed disquiet about the huge public health implications that the lack of handwashing facilities in the already overstretched lavatories at most of the law courts in Kumasi pose to those patronizing the courts.

They have therefore appealed to the government, philanthropists and other public-spirited corporate institutions to come to the aid of the courts with the provision of facilities, such as running water, soap, hand driers and dry towels / paper towels, to improve general hygiene at the courts.

Most of the court users told the Ghana News Agency in a random interview that the law courts were public places where families, friends and other members of the public seeking justice go for redress and human activities like handshakes, hugging and other emotional scenes for both the winning and losing sides in a legal tussle, are common.

The absence of hand washing facilities in such an environment where these activities take place make the court an unpleasant hub for the spread of bacterial and viral diseases, Madam Faustina Boakye, one litigant said.

She said some of these scenes of drama in the courts including excitement, jubilation, and sometimes psychological trauma for losing parties, may trigger bowel disturbances which may also call for the need for one to attend to nature’s call.

The court users’ concerns come on the back of the recent observation of the global handwashing day, held under the worldwide theme Our hands, our future.

Additionally, Kojo Danquah who also frequents the court , said the work of the police and prison officers in the courts put them at risk as they sometimes are compelled in line of their duty to escort accused persons wanting to use the toilets to and fro and later put them in handcuffs again.

Members of the bench/ bar and other court staff are also not spared this risk as they exchange documents which have to be tendered in court for evidence, she added.

Madam Afia Aborah, a nursing officer who spoke to the GNA corroborated the views of the court users and said using the toilets without washing the hands under running water and later touching files and documents could infect oneself when eating or spread from one person to all others who touch the those documents.

Skin diseases and Upper respiratory diseases like colds and coughs as well as bacterial infections including dysentery, cholera and Typhoid, are some of the diseases one stands the danger of contracting.

Madam Aborah said the use of hand sanitizers must be complemented with hand washing aids, to completely keep the hands clean enough, explaining that the sanitizer can only be effective when there were no visible traces of fecal matter on the hands.

Though sanitizers can kill the micro-organisms, the dead organisms would still remain on the hands, and these need to be washed off under running water and soap whiles the hands are kept dry by using dry tissue, she added.

Corporal Eric Akuffo, a court Warrant Officer when asked about how the court staff were coping with the current situation, said a number of his colleagues carried hand sanitizers which they used after their routine duties, but was quick to add that since not all court users could buy the sanitizers, the provision of such amenities would be ideal.

Source: Ghana News Agency