Residents of Kambonayili in the Fooshegu Electoral Area in the Tamale Metropolis have improvised a method to practice handwashing as advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and healthcare experts to fight the coronavirus pandemic. 

The innovation, popularly known as ‘Tippy Tap’ adopted by the community is due to the absence of proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and proper handwashing facilities such as the popular Veronica Buckets. 

THE CUSTODIAN visited the deprived community last week and saw that almost every household was using a Tippy Tap made of two crossed stems of a tree and hanged with a 4 or 5 litres gallon of water and a bottle of locally made liquid soap. 

Even though the innovative idea initiated by the village was encouraging, it could not be compared to scientifically approved handwashing facilities such as Veronica buckets.

This is because there is a challenge with the Tippy Tap, which requires the intervention and provision of better handwashing facilities among other PPEs to prevent the outbreak of any other infection if not COVID-19. 

Afa Abukari an elder of the community explained to THE CUSTODIAN that the measure was the only option to promote handwashing as advocated by the government

Both teenagers and adults frequently use the facility to wash their hands but the consequential effect of this practice is that people re-contaminate their hands by lifting the wood on which they step to activate the flow of water from the gallon. 

They sprinkle the running water from their hands onto their feet as they wash their hands because there is nothing to collect the wastewater unlike the Veronica bucket, which has a bowl to collect it. 

An elder of the community, Afa Abukari, explained to THE CUSTODIAN that the measure was the only option to promote handwashing as advocated by the government. 

According to him, since the outbreak of the pandemic, nobody has come to educate them on the virus. 

Afa Abukari explained that the economic hardship in the community makes it impossible for people to buy Veronica Buckets.

“I only see it in Tamale and how people use it,” he decried. 

Demonstrating how they practice hand-washing under running water, he stepped on the wood tied with the rope to the handle of the hanged gallon and asked, “Is this not how we are told to wash our hands under running water? 

When asked whether any official has ever visited the community to educate them on COVID-19, Afa Abukari replied, “It is only through radio announcements we hear about it. Nobody has come here to talk to us about the disease.” 

The Assemblyman for the area, Mr. Ibrahim Baba, said the decision of the people is to protect their lives and families in anticipation of any help and assistance that will come from the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly or any benevolent organisation. 

According to him, the vast population of the Tamale metropolis makes it practically difficult to provide the development needs to alleviate the burden and plight of the poor. 

He disclosed that other communities like Gbelahabila and Guunayili have also emulated the same practice to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Mr Abukari appealed for support to improve the situation to avoid an outbreak of other communicable disease due to the contamination of the wood. 

Poor families are going through hard times because of the negative economic impact that the coronavirus pandemic has caused. 

Some women told THE CUSTODIAN they are only waiting on the forthcoming farming season to cultivate vegetables sale since they cannot do trading.