Poor hand hygiene practices play negative role in heath, livelihood, and sustainability for the lives of millions, especially children and vulnerable groups with limited access to WASH facilities in Nigeria.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Water Resources and Sanitation, Mrs Enobong Mboho stated this on Tuesday in a keynote address she presented on this year’s Global Handwashing Day Celebration in Uyo, the state capital.
The information, according to Mrs Mbobo, is contained in Nigeria’s Roadmap to Hand Hygiene for All.
“Children are kept out of schools, preventable deaths in medical centers occur and millions of girls and women suffer in shame as a result of not being able to manage their menstrual hygiene needs.
“Handwashing with soap is linked to about 48% reduction in the risk of endemic diarrhea: 16-21% reduction in risk of acute respiratory infection, 50% reduction of pneumonia, and substantial reduction in neonatal infections. This makes it an important habit to advocate for” The Commissioner added.
According to her, “Everyone needs to be reminded that clean hands are within reach. That is, it is available and affordable. The burden of poor hygiene practice is for everyone as when women and children take ill, men bear the burden.”
To achieve hand hygiene for all in line with SDG 6, Mrs. Mbobo said that health, education, correctional, entertainment facilities as well as households and other public places should be equipped with basic hygiene facilities and put to use.
Describing the theme of this year’s celebration, “Clean Hands Are Within Reach” as apt to draw attention to the critical issue of hand as a cost effective way of preventing diseases, she stressed the need to provide administrative and regulatory oversight and monitoring of hand hygiene activities in Akwa Ibom.
She expressed the readiness of the Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation to collaborate with CSOs, NGOs and other development partners as as critical stakeholders to upscale hand hygiene and other WASH services in order to achieve the desired SDG6.
The Commissioner commended IbomWASH cluster for sensitizing the people of the state on maintaining proper handwashing and other hygiene activities.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Project Director, IbomWASH+, Prof Gabriel Umoh said that the overall objective of IbomWASH+ Project was to improve the performance of the WASH sector of Akwa Ibom state.
Towards achieving the feat, Prof Umoh, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of African Human Development Centre (AHDC) said the cluster had partnered relevant stakeholders to develop the ancillary documents to Akwa Ibom State Water Law and submitted to the State Executive Council for approval
These documents which were vetted by the state ministry of justice with inputs from relavant stakeholders, include Akwa Ibom State WASH Policy, Akwa Ibom State State WASH Monitoring and Evaluation (M & E) Framework and Akwa Ibom State Open Defecation-free Roadmap.
He called on the State Executive Council to grant speedy approval to the documents to enable improved health for all the state.
Highlights of celebration hygiene WASH hand demonstration, panel discussion and paper presentation.