To conserve water in areas affected by the water crisis, handwashing need not be done anymore to the tune of “Happy Birthday,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yesterday.
Michael Varcas
No more happy ‘handwashing’ birthday song – DOH
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - March 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Don’t sing the “Happy birthday” song anymore.

To conserve water in areas affected by the water crisis, handwashing need not be done anymore to the tune of “Happy Birthday,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said yesterday.

The website of the World Health Organization showed that washing hands properly takes as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice or about 15 to 20 seconds.

“We can no longer sing ‘Happy Birthday’ while washing our hands... But of course, we should not sacrifice bathing. Otherwise you will easily get sick and when that happens, you will easily infect others,” Duque said at a press conference in the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) in Mandaluyong City.

According to Duque, a person needs an average of 15 liters of water daily for hand washing but using alcohol is also a good alternative for water.

Yesterday, Duque inspected the NCMH as the center was reported to be one of five hospitals gravely affected by the water crisis in the areas covered by Manila Water.  

The others are Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City; National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City.

The health chief clarified that operations of NCMH were normal because its 11 deep wells are “functioning” and can produce 115 cubic meters of water daily.

Aside from this, NCMH is receiving rationed water from the Philippine Red Cross amounting to 15 cubic meters and three cubic meters from Manila Water.

Duque urged the public to conserve water by, for instance, shifting from the use of shower to water in containers. 

“We have individual (responsibility) to save water in the face of the shortage that we are experiencing now,” he added.  

FRANCISCO DUQUE III
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