The Wellbeing Foundation Africa, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), on Tuesday, says hand washing is critical to hygiene and general wellness.
The Founder of the group, Mrs. Toyin Saraki, wife of ex-President of the Senate, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Saraki, who spoke on the occasion of the Global Hand Washing Day, annually observed on Oct. 15, stressed the need to use soap and clean water to wash hands before and after any activities.
First celebrated in 2008 when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries, community and national leaders had since then, marked the day to raise awareness about handwashing.
The day, also endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGOs, private companies, as well as individuals, is also to raise awareness on the need to build sinks and tippy taps, and demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands.
The 2019 Global Hand Washing Day has “Clean Hands for All” as its theme, a push to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development Agenda.
Saraki said that improved access to safe wash was pivotal to ensuring good nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, stressing the need for “wash” to be treated as a priority in Africa.
On the 2019 Global Handwashing Day theme, she said “it focuses on the links between handwashing and food, including food hygiene and nutrition.
“Handwashing is an important part of keeping food safe, preventing diseases and helping children to grow strong.
“Let us make handwashing a lifestyle. It is one of the simplest, yet most effective ways to reduce the spread of germs and save lives.
“The day reminds Africa that only 60 per cent of the world’s population has access to basic handwashing facilities.”
She added that people all over the world were working hard to bring water, sanitation, and hygiene to the most vulnerable populations.
“We are reaching out to healthcare facilities and schools across our locations in Africa to teach children handwashing techniques.
“Health workers should be empowered to promote the five key moments of hand washing.
“Almost one in five primary schools and one in eight secondary schools are considered to have no sanitation.
“This has negative implications for adolescent girls who need facilities during their period,” she said.
She said that the foundation was committed to saving lives and would continue to strive to educate, empower and advocate for accessible and sustainable health in Africa.