By Peter Duru,
Makurdi- Persons taking refuge in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in Daudu 1 camp, Guma local government area of Benue State have commended the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and the Department For International Development, DFID and Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, for exposing them to the health benefits of hand washing in order to live healthy lives.
The displaced persons who spoke in the camp after participating in this year’s global hand washing celebrations with the theme ‘Clean Health, Recipe for Health’, said the sensitization came timely as many of them had been well equipped to live healthy lives to avoid contacting killer diseases.
In their separate remarks after the sensitization, Joseph Igbakura, Doofaan Terzungwe, Emmanuel Terfa and Nguveren Terna lauded the DFID, UNICEF and all the CSOs for the advocacy.
They stressed that the exposure to safe health practices had equipped them with the benefits of hand-washing practice and living a safe and hygienic life.
“From this sensitization we have realized the importance of washing our hands after using the toilets, touching sick people and after shaking people in order to avert contacts with deadly infections and life threatening diseases if we ensured the hygienic practices,” they said.
They also appeal to the federal and state government to take steps to reconstruct their destroyed homes to enable them return to their villages to live normal lives.
Some of the children who also participated in the sensitization exercise including Terver Shisha, John Numver, Obadiah Kuver and Jane Akase appealed to the government to help them return to their villages to enable them go back to school to learn.
“We are missing school and we are also missing our friends, we want to go back home to unite with our friends and also attend school so that we can teach our friends what we have leant today,” the children said.
The Global Hand Washing Day is a day set aside on every October 15, to campaign and mobilize the global community to improve their hand washing habits especially washing their hands at critical times with soap or aches which was emphasized during the celebration at the IDPs camps in Daudu
The celebration which was carried out in the camps by Civil Society Organizations through UNICEF with support from DFID sensitized and tutored the IDPs on the benefits of hand washing and the import of sustaining the practice even after leaving the camps.
The importance of the theme of this year’s celebrations which was aimed at inculcating hand washing habit especially for those in the IDPs camps in view of its enormous benefits to the health of the beneficiaries attracted members of the Daudu community who also benefited from the sensitization exercise.
The outreach also emphasized the importance of washing the hands at all times aside when about to eat but at every point in time for healthy living.
Speaking on the advocacy, Nnam Cedric Obinna, UNICEF WASH Volunteer designated to Daudu 1 said the Global Hand Washing Day celebration was a huge success in the camp.
According to Obinna “in commemorate of this year’s global hand washing day as mandated by UNICEF for all volunteers, a lot of activities were outlined and set aside by members of the Daudu 1 IDPs camp. These actvites ranged from construction of Tippy Taps by the IDPs themselves.
“The aim of this activity was to show that knowledge of the construction and use of the Tippy Tap has been properly stepped down by the volunteers.
“There was Demonstration of effective hand washing techniques by the school students of the Benue State Emergency Education Programme (BSEEP) in form of group hand-washing.
“The aim of this activity was to show that the focus of the global handwashing day was not limited to adults alone and that children play a major role in the day’s activities too.
“A drama to showcase the critical times to wash hands and the consequences of ignoring them. The aim was to properly communicate the message of handwashing, hygiene and general cleanliness in drama format which gives a better understanding to the people than facilitating.
“The above listed activities were carried out one after the other in front of a teeming population of over 200 including women and children.
“You saw that each demonstration was met with cheers and applause to appreciate the participants. The security personnel who ensured calm were also not left out and they equally participated to commemorate the event and added further glow to it.
“Though two members of the UNICEF supervising team arrived much later to witness some of the events but they took a supervisory look round the camp to acknowledged the success of the advocacy.”