Media Network on Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) an NGO, says that hand washing has remained the best way of preventing diseases as Nigerians marks the Global Hand washing Day on Sunday.
Newsmen Global Handwashing Day, an annual global advocacy day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is `Our hands, our future’.
The Coordinator of the network in Enugu State, Mrs Elizabeth Achuagu told newsmen that washing of hands had been the best form of hygiene as many diseases were contracted through dirty hands.
“Hand washing is the easiest way of preventing diseases and saving lives. So it should be done at critical times especially before and after eating, after visiting toilets and hand shaking,” she said.
The coordinator said that the practice should be done with running water and soap.
According to Achuagu, children should be encouraged from home to imbibe the culture of hand washing whether in school or at home after playing.
She expressed dismay that many organisations especially schools stopped the practice after the Ebola scare pointing out that it should be a continuous process.
“Hand washing with soap can prevent one out of every three episodes of diarrhoea and almost one out of six episodes of respiratory infections like pneumonia.
“It also helps to prevent other contagious diseases like the recent monkey pox epidemic ravaging some parts of the country,’’ she said.
The coordinator however, appealed to stakeholders of water and water providers to ensure that the citizenry had access to safe drinking water in the country.
Also in Osogbo, the Osun Rural Water Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWESA) took hand washing sensitisation to religious centres in the state as part of activities to mark the day.
RUWESA officials visited NASFAT centre and Anglican Church to demonstrate effective hand washing with the use of soap, water, bowl, and towel.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Segun Moyinoluwa, the Director of Sanitation and Hygiene at RUWESA, said handwashing with soap prevent disease in a more straight forward and cost effective way than any vaccine.
Moyinoluwa said at this critical period that some states were battling with monkey pox , the importance of handwashing could not be over emphasised.
He said religious centres were targeted for the sensitisation programme, given the large assembly of worshipers who could help the state government in spreading the message of the campaign through the nooks and crannies of the state.
Moyinoluwa said hand washing with soap was extremely and most inexpensive way of preventing diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.
“It is important to turn hand washing to habit. The simple act of washing hands at this critical moment is an easy and affordable intervention.
“ Good hand washing hygiene will reduce the risk of water borne disease, flu, food poisoning and other infections being passed from person to person, Moyinoluwa said.
According to him, almost everyone in the world can afford multi-purpose bar soap or detergent to make soapy water for handwashing.
“ When hand washing with soap is practiced regularly at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food, it can dramatically reduce the risk of diarrhea and pneumonia, which can cause serious illness and death.
“Hand washing with soap also helps prevent the spread of other infections such as influenza and Ebola”.
Similarly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Its Primary Health Care Development Board said that 100 primary school teachers have been trained on effective way of hand washing.
The Director of Disease Control in the agency, Dr Yakubu Mohammed said that the teachers were selected from various schools in the territory with a view to sensitise their pupils on effective and proper way of washing hands.
“Our hands are our future, the future begins with now, if you take care of your hands; you will be able to secure your future.
“If you do not take care of your hands and guide what goes into your hands, you will contact diseases and transmit such to others, which is bad.
“Regular hand washing is very important and ensure to learn eight steps in hand washing, practise and master it as well as to teach members of your household,” he said.
The director therefore urged the general public to use ash and water if they cannot afford sanitiser or soap to wash their hands.
He added that hand washing was important in the prevention of so many infectious diseases and it also promotes good health.