Water resources minister calls for regular hand-washing to reduce infant mortality
• DRASA educates students on importance of hand washing
• Lagos, RB mark Day with school children
As the World commemorate Global Hand Washing Day, the Minister of Water Resource, Suleiman Adamu, has urged Nigerians to intensify hand washing practice in an effort to reduce deaths from water born diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever and pneumonia, which are prevalent in Nigerian communities.
The minister who stated this during a press briefing to mark this year’s Global Hand Washing Day with the theme: “Make Hand Washing a Habit.” said that 1.7 million children die globally from diarrhoea and pneumonia annually, adding that a good hand washing habit could significantly prevent these deaths.
Adamu said: “Hand washing with soap represents a cornerstone of public health and can be considered an affordable, accessible ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine for sanitation and hygiene related diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid fever and pneumonia which are prevalent in our communities.
“1.7 million Children reportedly die from diarrhoea and pneumonia each year. A good hand washing habit can significantly prevent these deaths. Hand washing with soap before eating and after using the toilet could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhoea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by a quarter. This can only be achieved if hand washing with soap is done consistently.”
He said hand washing with soap represented a cornerstone of public health, adding that it could be considered an affordable and accessible ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine for sanitation and hygiene.
Also to mark the day, Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh (DRASA) Health Trust partnered with Ikeja Electric and Kleanmate to visit six schools and had more than 1,100 students all over Lagos state washing their hands at the same time. The goal was to educate students on the importance of hand washing as an effective way to stop the spread of diseases, use activities to show how germs spread, and teach students the proper way to wash their hands. The six schools visited were United Junior High School in Ikorodu; Amuwo Odofin Junior/Secondary School in Amuwo Odofin; Gbagada Junior Comprehensive in Shomolu; Oke—‐Ira Junior Grammar School in Ikeja; Community Junior Grammar School in Akowonjo; and Iju Obawale Junior Grammar School in Abule Egba.
Ikeja Electric Head of Brands, Mrs. Titi Aikhomu, stated their commitment to improve the well being and health of Nigerians in these six communities which they serve. In support of the hygiene awareness campaign, Kleanmate donated its liquid hand wash which was distributed to students and teachers at each school.
Kleanmate’s General Manager, Mr. Amar Hathiramani, noted that his company was proud to be part of this initiative. He added that Kleanmate strives to improve cleanliness and health in Nigeria with its products. He said: “Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways of preventing the spread of diseases and viruses.”
According to Niniola Soleye, DRASA’s Managing Director, “DRASA aims to get all Nigerians aware of the benefits of washing their hands. And through our #ItStartsWithMe campaign we have been doing just that. We want good health and hygiene to become common place in Nigeria. We are excited to be doing this in celebration of Global Handwashing Day,” Soleye added. DRASA calls on everyone to wash their hands and join and support the #ItStartsWithMe campaign by donating on its website: www.drasatrust.org/donat. Also, in a bid to curtail the spread of diseases such as diarrhoea and dysentery, which is prevalent among children, Reckitt Benckiser West Africa in partnership with Save The Children and the Lagos State Government organised a hand-washing event to mark the Day.
The event, which held at CMS Primary School, Bariga, attracted over 500 students drawn from over twenty schools on the mainland. The children were taught fun and easy ways to remember to wash their hands as often as possible to prevent the spread of diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery. According to available statistics, the simple activity of washing hands reduces the spread of diarrhea by half amongst children.