By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—Staggering four billion cases of diarrhoea per year, cause an estimated 2.2 million deaths, with majority of casualties being children under the age of five.
The Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Owerri, FUTO, Professor Celestine Onwuliri, raised the alarm in his welcome address at the global hand washing day awareness campaign organized in FUTO by the Women and Child Research and Development Centre.
“Diarrhoea also accounts for 4.3 per cent of the total global disease burden and an estimated 88 per cent of this burden is attributable to unsafe drinking water supply, inadequate sanitation and poor hygeine, including lack of hand washing with soap”, Professor Onwuliri said.
In his considered opinion, these risk factors are second, after malnutrition, in contributing to the global burden of disease, adding that hygiene is critical to good health.
“Hand hygiene is critical to good health and constitutes the single most effective practice for preventing the outbreak and spread of communicable diseases in every society and every setting”, Onwuliri said.
Speaking also, the former Deputy Vice Chancellor, Evan Enwerem University, Owerri, who doubled as the Chairman of the event, Professor Bertram E.B. Nwoke, lamented that hand washing is unfortunately not practised by people, especially in this part of the globe.
He appealed to government to ensure that potable water is made available to the citizenry, if the current fight against communicable diseases would be realized.