Health

October 18, 2023

‘1.4m Nigerians killed by diseases traceable to inadequate handwash’

‘1.4m Nigerians killed by diseases traceable to inadequate handwash’

Global handwashing day

By Gabriel Ewepu and Favour Ulebor, ABUJA

A non-governmental organization, the Africa Youth Growth Foundation, AYGR, yesterday, disclosed 1.4 million Nigerians are killed by diseases traceable to inadequate handwash facilities.

The Executive Director, AYGR, Dr Arome Salifu, said this during a visit to Government Day Secondary School, GDSS, Bwari, Abuja, in commemoration of the Global Handwashing Day with the theme ‘Clean Hands are Within Reach’.

Arome while quoting the World Health Organization, WHO also noted that unsafe hand hygiene is responsible for 394,000 deaths from diarrhoea and 356,000 deaths from ARIs.

He also explained that the aim to engage the students, particularly in Bwari Area Council, with interactive activities is basically to promote handwashing, which includes handwashing rations, games, competitions, and educational sessions; Develop Informative and Easy-to-understand educational content that explains the importance of handwashing, when and how to wash hands, and the benefits of proper hygiene.

According to him, the event will be used as an opportunity to advocate for improved hygiene infrastructure and policies. Participants will be encouraged to continue practicing good hand hygiene as a lifelong habit. Feedback from participants and partners will be collected and used to identify areas for improvement.

He said: “In order to sustain our efforts to promote handwashing beyond Global Handwashing Day, we plan to establish partnerships with local health organisations, schools, community groups, and government agencies to secure long-term funding and support. We will also explore potential corporate sponsorships and grants from foundations that share our mission of promoting hygiene and improving health outcomes.

“Furthermore, we will make use of social media platforms and other digital channels to keep the conversation going and maintain engagement without a target audience.

“By consistently sharing educational resources and organizing events throughout the year, we hope to create a culture of handwashing and hygiene that will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of communities worldwide.

“Hygiene has long-established links with public health. Often, among the range of hygiene behaviours considered important for health, handwashing with soap is a top priority in all settings. The simple act of cleaning hands can save lives and reduce illness by helping prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

These diseases can be caused by pathogens (germs) transmitted through the air or via surfaces, food, or human faeces. Because people frequently touch their faces, food, and surfaces, hands play a significant role in spreading disease.

“It is estimated that 1.4 million people, including nearly 400,000 children under five, die each year from preventable diseases attributable to inadequate WASH, including diarrhoea, Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs), soil-transmitted helminths, and undernutrition. Unsafe hand hygiene alone is responsible for 394,000 deaths from diarrhoea and 356,000 deaths from ARIs (WHO2023).”

Meanwhile, he (Arome) taught students how to maintain good hygiene practices and therefore said, “Everyone present in this area will be encouraged to continue practicing good hand hygiene as a lifelong habit.

“In order to sustain our efforts to promote hand washing beyond Global Hand Washing Day, we plan to establish partnerships with local health organisations, schools, community groups, and government agencies to secure long-term funding and support.

“Furthermore, we will make use of social media platforms and other digital channels to keep the conversation going and maintain engagement with our target audience. By consistently sharing educational resources and organizing events throughout the year, we hope to create a culture of hand washing and hygiene that will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of communities worldwide.”

Africa Youth Growth Foundation, in partnership with U-Save, donated handwashing water dispensing buckets, towels, hand sanitizers, and handwash to the school and demonstrated to the students the proper ways to wash their hands and take their hygiene seriously.