By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria joins the world to commemorate 2019 Global Hand Washing Day, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, Tuesday, educated children on prevention of killer diseases with regular hand washing practice with water and soap.
Adamu who explained the essence of activities marking the day in Nigeria said it was in recognition to change in attitude to adopt good hygiene practices among children due to their vulnerability to diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia that are two major killers of children under five years.
He also maintained that the government would not relent in providing adequate and safe water for the accessibility of all Nigerians to combat water and airborne diseases.
The Global Hand-Washing Day is celebrated on October 15 every year. It started in 2008 when it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The theme for this year’s event is: ‘Clean Hand: A Recipe for Health.’
It is a global campaign dedicated to raising awareness of hand-washing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention. Respiratory and intestinal diseases can be reduced by 25-50 per cent.
He said: “The essence of today’s activity of engaging with children is in recognition of the role that children can play as agents of change in cultivating the good hygienic practice of washing hands with soap at critical times.
“Children are more vulnerable to sanitation and hygiene-related diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia – the two leading causes of death for children below the age of five.
“Handwashing with soap reduces the incidence of diarrhea diseases and the outbreak of many communicable diseases such as Ebola and Lassa Fever.
“Adopting the behaviour of handwashing with soap is adjudged as one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diseases, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost one-half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.”
He further stressed that “Handwashing with soap is a vital part of cooking, eating and feeding others.”
The Minister also recalled that early this year the Federal Government launched the National Programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria tagged the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign to promote culture and habit of safe sanitation practices.
“Earlier this year, the Federal Executive Council approved the rollout of the National Programme to End Open Defecation in Nigeria tagged the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ Campaign which is geared at mobilizing high-level political support, resources and the entire populace towards building a new culture of safe sanitation”, he said.
Photo Caption: Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, with students who participated in the National quiz competition finals for the 2019 Global Hand-washing Day commemoration in Abuja.