By Funmi Olasupo
Abuja—The United Nations Children’s Education Fund has said that about 150,000 children die annually in Nigeria as a result of poor sanitation and the intake of unsafe water, which results in diarrhea.
UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Chief in Nigeria, Mr. Kanaan Nadar, disclosed this on the occasion of the 2014 global hand washing day celebration in Abuja.
Nadar called on parents to make their children see the need to always wash their hands and maintain safe hygiene at all times as this would reduce deaths caused by diarrhea by almost 50 per cent.
Nadar, said: “In Nigeria every year, we have about 150,000 children that die largely due to diarrhea mostly associated with unsafe water sanitation and hygiene.
“Hand washing can actually step down this diarrhea death to almost 50 per cent and reduce pneumonia to almost 40 per cent. So hand washing is really important.”
According to him, hand washing with soap has made a major difference in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease, EVD.
Nadar said it had been one of the major tools against the spread of the virus in most of the EVD affected countries.
He said: “In the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus, hand washing with soap, as an important tool, has made additional line of difference.
“Choose hand washing for this is apt given the prominence that hand washing has gained especially in this particular time of crisis in a number of countries.
“Everyone can choose to wash his or her hand with soap after using the toilet and before eating or touching food, thereby creating healthy environment not only for themselves but also for the family and the larger society.”
In her address, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, said the hand washing programme was being celebrated because it had the capacity to save lives and reduce disease burden in Nigeria.
She said: “Today across Nigeria, over 250,000 pupils from 100 selected schools are participating in the global hand washing campaign and will be demonstrating the process of hand washing with running