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Hand washing can reduce infections by 50% – Minister

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Hand washing can reduce infections by 50% – Minister

By Vivian Emoni

Minister of State for Environment Sharon Ikeazor urged Nigerians to always wash their hands with soap, as this would reduce infections by 50% and respiratory illnesses by 25%.

Ikeazor gave the advice in Abuja, during the commemoration of Global Handwashing Day 2021 with a theme: “Our future is at hand, let’s move forward together”.

She said the theme was a clear call for the global community to work together and build on lessons learned from the response to COVID-19.

She added that this would remedy the continuing neglect of hand hygiene as a major means of preventing disease transmission.

She said many people tend to wash their hands with only water, which has been found to be ineffective in killing most germs.

According to her, for many Nigerians, washing their hands with soap and water is not really considered necessary.

She said they think soaps are mostly for laundry and bathing.

“Let me take this opportunity to inform Nigerians that washing hands with soap and water kills germs much more effectively and dramatically reduces the risk of disease transmission.

“Hands should be washed as much as possible and should be washed at critical times.

“After going to the toilet, after coughing or sneezing, after cleaning a child who has gone to the toilet, before preparing food,” she said.

According to her, you should also wash your hands before and after eating, and after playing with animals.

“It is a well-known fact that a large number of children die every year from lack of sanitation and hygiene-related diseases.

“Globally, basic hand hygiene is often overlooked, due to lack of access to hand washing facilities in key locations.

“In addition, 40% of the world’s population, or three billion people, do not have facilities for washing their hands with soap and water at home.

“More than 3.5 million children suffer from diarrheal diseases and this is no small number.

“Children under 5 are more prone to such illnesses due to the lack of knowledge about the importance of handwashing.

“So I advise Nigerians to always wash their hands because hand washing saves lives,” she said.

Ikeazor said the challenges in sanitation and hygiene need to be addressed and that good investment for government at all levels is needed.

“As it would improve the health, education, social and economic status of the country,” she said.

She called on Nigerians, especially those in public and private places of authority, to ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene arrangements, including hand washing facilities at all times.

Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu urged all stakeholders to effectively raise awareness on the importance of handwashing.

He added that the constant practice of hand washing could promote the health of the people of the country.

Adamu, who was represented by his permanent secretary, Mr. Echono Sonny, said hand washing is one of the first steps to prevent illness.

He urged Nigerians to prevent disease transmission by washing their hands regularly with soap.

Federal Government Boys College deputy principal Mary Nwogu said the school authority was delighted and privileged that the ministry had chosen the school to host the event.

Nwogu urged Nigerians to do the right thing by washing their hands properly with soap to enable them to promote healthy and better lives.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the event was also marked by a quiz competition on sanitation and hygiene practices for six primary schools selected in the CTF.

City Royal Junior School, Nyanya, took the first position, Federal Government College Nursery and Primary School; Kwali took the second place while the third position was taken by the Federal Government Girls College, Bwarri, all in the FCT.

Schools were given antibacterial soaps to participate in the competition, while hand washing facilities were given to the first school that won first place.

Miss Chiaka Okeke, a 5th grade student at City Royal Junior School, said she was happy and grateful that her school took the top spot in the competition.

“My advice to my fellow students is that they should always make sure to wash their hands and participate in environmental remediation in their different areas.

Source: NAN

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