Adopt hand-washing habit, Water Resources Minister urges Nigerians

The Minister of Water Resources, Engr Suleiman Adamu, Thursday challenged Nigerians to make hand washing a habit to protect their health and prevent diseases.

Adamu made the appeal during the Public Presentation of Hand Hygiene For All, HH4A, Roadmap, held in Abuja.

With concern and passion he stressed that the hand hygiene culture is one of the determinants to healthcare and remains cardinal in healthy living. 

He asserted that hand washing is the most less expensive measure of disease prevention in reducing the prevalence of Health Care Associated Infections (HCA’s) and the spread of antimicrobial resistant diseases.

Adamu recalled that what triggered the Ministry’s quick response to the Covid 19 pandemic and the development of the National Hand Hygiene For All (HH4A) Roadmap with the support of WHO and UNICEF was acknowledging the fact that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are important aspect of human health and well being, and remains  a fundamental human right to be accessible to everyone within or in the immediate vicinity of households, workplaces, health educational and public institutions. 

The Minister said the Roadmap has laid out a path for maximizing upcoming opportunities in the implementation of hand hygiene in homes, schools, health care facilities, transport hubs, workplaces, correctional centers, religious places, recreational facilities, and others, therefore commended the document.

He said, “This Roadmap will further increase the awareness of Nigerians on the developing initiatives for inclusive hand hygiene in all human context of existence in Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, he made it known that the Ministry has developed National Action Plan for the Revitalization of the WASH Sector with Presidential Declaration of a state of Emergency in the sector. Programs like PEWASH (Partnership For Expanded WASH) and ‘Clean Nigeria : Use the Toilet campaign to end open defecation by 2025 are all geared towards improving Sanitation and Hygiene.

While expressing gratitude to UNICEF, and the  WHO for their maximum support in the development process in the Hand Hygiene Roadmap and acknowledging the continued collaborations  of the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS), Development Partners and other line Ministries, the Minister reassured Nigerians that there are concerted efforts  for accessibility of basic and improved sanitation and hygiene services.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Esther Didi Walson-Jack,mni said that the Roadmap when fully implemented will enhance the enabling environment for hygiene, provide effective contribution mechanism and strategically position hygiene in different sectors in Nigeria.

Walson-Jack opined that the implementation will also identify the different roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders and increase demand and supply of hygiene products and Services in Nigeria.

The  Development Partners, NEWSAN, OPS-WASH,  Line Ministries in their various goodwill messages shared same view that collective implementation of the Roadmap will help in imbibing the habit of effective hand washing in specific places and will help in building a healthier nation.

A report shows that the Coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly highlighted the importance of good hand hygiene. In the Global Hygiene Reset Report conducted by Initial Washroom Hygiene, 74% of global respondents indicated that they are now more aware of germ hotspots than they were before the pandemic.

One of the biggest issues in shared areas when proper handwashing techniques are not used, is that cross contamination can occur and germs can be left behind on items that users of the shared space have previously touched. For example, if a person has not washed their hands and then proceeds to use a door handle, other people may then touch the same door handle and if they then go on to touch their nose or mouth, it would be quite easy for an infection to be transmitted to them. Likewise, preparing food without practising proper handwashing techniques can pose a risk to those who consume the food that has been prepared.

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