As healthcare service providers, children, others face high risk
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to ravage countries across the world with Nigeria having its share, WaterAid Nigeria has disclosed that 150 million Nigerians lack access to hand-washing facilities with water and soap.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Communications and Media Manager, WaterAid Nigeria,Oluseyi Abdulmalik, raising serious concerns over the situation, which frequent hand-washing with soap prevents the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases, but currently lacking in the country.
The Statement reads in part, “Following confirmation of the second case of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Nigeria, WaterAid is re-echoing the importance of frequent handwashing with soap to prevent the spread of this and other diseases.
“Handwashing with soap and water can drastically reduce the risk of people contracting infectious diseases like the Coronavirus, which is now recognised as a public health emergency of international concern.
“However, figures from the WHO/UNICEF 2019 Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) reveal that 58% of homes in Nigeria do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water while national statistics put the population of those in Nigeria that lack access to handwashing facilities with soap and water at about 150 million.”
Meanwhile, the organization also revealed that only five per cent of healthcare facilities in the country have combined water, sanitation and hygiene services, which is obviously abysmal.
“Furthermore, only 5% of health facilities in Nigeria have combined basic water, sanitation and hygiene services; with just 13% of schools in the country having basic water and sanitation services.
“Against this sad reality, large segments of the population – healthcare workers, babies, children, public workers – and indeed everyone – are at risk of contracting diseases like the Coronavirus.
“Recognised as the single most cost-effective do-it-yourself vaccine, handwashing with soap and water can reduce disease spread by nearly half. The World Health Organisation 2019 public advisory recommends regular and thorough washing of hands with soap and water to protect oneself and others”, it added.