By Chioma Obinna
As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to Mark the 2021 World Hand Hygiene Day, today (May 5) the Chief Medical Director, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki says Nigerians must continue to observe regular hand washing and other stipulated safety measures to avoid the current third wave of COVID-19 raging in India and some other countries.
India is currently experiencing the worst global Covid-19 experience with the official death toll now surpassing 200,000 as of the country, thought to have successfully controlled the pandemic, now record about 400,000 cases daily.
Flagging off the World Hand Hygiene Day activities in Benin City on Wednesday, Obaseki urged Nigerians not to be deceived by the current low cases of COVID-19 to think that the virus is no longer in the country.
He declared that the observance of preventive measures such as hand washing, wearing of face masks, and maintaining social distancing remain key measures to keep the dreaded disease at bay.
“Let’s not believe that we are through the worst. We pray we are. We pray that what is happening in India doesn’t get here but that can only happen if we keep doing the right things, wearing our face masks and washing our hands regularly,” he said.
Obaseki further emphasized the importance of hand hygiene saying it should not be observed by health workers alone but by everyone to prevent infections and diseases.
“We all know that COVID-19 is transmitted mostly through droplets and contact with infected persons or infected surfaces via your hand to your face, mouth nose and the eyes.
“Washing your hands regularly with soap and water cannot therefore be over emphasised in controlling the spread of infectious pathogens, including the SARS COV 2 virus responsible for the spread of covid-19.
“Our responsibility as policymakers, health administrators, managers, healthcare workers, and even as individuals in this regard cannot be overstated. We all have the responsibility to ensure that we comply, especially in the health care setting where we are encouraged to reduce general transmission of infection between patients, from patients to health care workers, and from health workers to their colleagues.
“This we do by washing our hands before we touch our patients after we touch our patients, the patients surroundings, and before we leave the hospital at the close of work” he further said.
The CMD later led members of the hospital’s Infection Control Committee (IPC) and other staff in a walk to sensitise the hospital and neighbouring communities about hand hygiene.
The event was organised by UBTH in partnership with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the World Health Organisation.
The World Hand Hygiene Day was launched globally by WHO in 2009 and marked annually on 5 May to maintain global promotion, visibility and sustainability of hand hygiene in health care and to ‘bring people together in support of hand hygiene improvement around the world.