By Chioma Obinna

AS the Nigeria battles with outbreak of meningitis and Lassa fever,  the Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMoH) and Lagos State Ministry of Environment (LSMoE), teamed up with leading hygiene solution brand, Hypo, to sensitise the public on household and environment hygiene as a preventive measure against diseases.

The exercise tagged: “Team Up to Clean UP” which was part of activities to mark this year’s World Health Day, had the management of Hypo, representatives of the LSMoH and LSMoE, as well as residents of Ebute Metta and its environs, participate in the clean up exercise as they cleared the streets and drainages in the community to enhance their wellbeing.

SANITATION EXERCISE: Residents of Simpson Street, Ebute Metta with the Hypo Clean Up Team clearing gutters during the Hypo Team Up to Clean Up environmental exercise on World Health Day in Lagos.

A recent report by the World Health Organisation estimated that 12.6 million people died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment in 2012 – nearly one quarter of total global deaths. The Report, titled: “Preventing disease through healthy environments” further found that these deaths could be prevented through better environmental management.

In a chat with Good Health Weekly during the  exercise, Jadesola Surakat, Brand Manager, Hypo said the campaign which is the secoond in series, was primarily aimed at fulfilling the corporate social responsibility Hypo has towards the society and repositioning the brand from the perceived state of just a whitening agent to a total hygiene solution.

“If a place is dirty, insects  could carry the diseases and infect everyone. Also if the water system is not clean, diseases can easily spread. Although there are a lot of factors that could be involve in the spreading of diseases, the environment is one of the major factors to be taken into consideration,” she added.

The Assistant Director, Health Education Unit, LSMoH, Mrs. Olubunmi Ilawole said: “We have had a lot of outbreak of diseases like Ebola, Lassa fever, and this is due to unclean environment. Our environment matters to our wellbeing. When the drainages are not flowing, it tends to generate more dirt and bacteria breed in them. We also have other water borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, and the recent meningitis all caused by dirty environment. People don’t really know what is going on in their environment that is why we are going round sensitizing people and calling on everybody to come out and keep their surroundings clean to avoid further diseases from ravaging our communities,” she added.

According to the Head, Waste Management Division, Environmental Services Department, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Tolu Adeyo, unhealthy and dirty environment contribute to the fast spread of diseases, adding that with Lagos State having the highest population of over 22 million people, there is bound to be more refuse, which is why the ministry is teaming up with projects that would sensitise people on the need to keep their environment clean to prevent outbreak of deadly diseases.

“Government would do it’s part of providing framework, system and infrastructures such as the PSP scheme, but it’s our individual responsibility to manage the waste we generate on a daily basis by disposing them the right way and the sensitization of cleaning the environment is central to our mandate that’s why we commend the Hypo Team Up to Clean Up campaign.”

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