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Handwashing in Nigeria needs attention

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By Mercy Kelani

Only 4 percent of Nigerians practice proper hand hygiene in critical times.

The Federal Government has declared its interest in promoting the culture of hand washing, stating that at critical times only 4 percent of people in Nigeria observed this practice. The minister of water resources and sanitation, Joseph Utsev, disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja to celebrate the commemoration of the 2023 Global Handwashing Day, themed “Clean hands are within our reach”. Utsev stated that the practice of handwashing at critical times would help to reduce the spread of diseases.

Utsev added that the habit of cultivating the culture of handwashing helped in strengthening communities, promoting human health and curbing the wide-spread of preventable diseases. According to Ustev, the first line of defence is cultivating this habit to reduce the toll of pandemics and prevent outbreaks. This system can be attested to from the previous experience of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It is considered as a safe hygiene practice that can help avert medical emergencies.

There is a 99 percent knowledge of the practice in Nigeria.

Using the report from the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASHNORM) in 2021, Utsev said that an abysmal 17 percent currently represents the national access to basic hygiene services in Nigeria. The director of the River Basin Operations and Inspectorate, John Ochigbo, who represented the minister, declared that only 8 percent of the population practised the culture of handwashing in the country, while there was 99 percent knowledge of the practice — which are yet to be taken into use.

He said that, according to the report, only eight percent of the population can demonstrate proper handwashing, using running water and soap, while 99 percent of the country’s population have high knowledge of this practice. He added that during critical or medical emergency times, only 4 percent have the tendency to practise the hygienic and proper washing of hands, using soap and water. This practice should be done before feeding others, handling food, eating, cooking, after playing and touching sick people or animals.

Roadmap implemented by the ministry for handwashing.

Also, the ministry has begun the implementation of the Hand Hygiene for All Roadmap, in order to reverse the trends of unhygienic practices. According to the ministry, this system structured a strategic direction to successfully achieve the practice of regular washing of hands and hand hygiene for all citizens of Nigeria. The implementation of this roadmap will aid the country’s objective to improve towards guaranteeing affordable and available product and services for the less privileged citizens.

Furthermore, the system will establish the culture of handwashing, using soap and running water for all people. The minister called for renewed commitment and dedication, while appreciating the efforts of the development partners and other stakeholders in building a good hygienic culture for all Nigerians. The celebration of the housing day on October 15 annually was aimed at promoting the understanding and awareness of the significance of hand hygiene, using soap as an affordable and effective measure to prevent the spread of disease.

Commitment to the provision of hand hygiene by governments.

Additionally, the distribution of handbills to create awareness, establishment of a sensitization rally concerning the significance of handwashing were the highlights of the day. The government was urged by UNICEF to ensure commitment to the provision of hand hygiene as an Investment in economic resilience and public health, and not as a temporary response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five accelerators were identified, according to the report by the most recent joint UNICEF and WHO report, which can empower governments to speedily boost access to hand hygiene, such as innovation, consistent data, capacity building, smart public finance and good governance.

Related Link

UNICEF: Website

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Ask Nigeria
1 month ago

Handwashing in Nigeria needs attention. – Only 4 percent of Nigerians practice proper hand hygiene in critical times. – Express your point of view.

1 month ago

Hand washing needs to become ingrained in our ways of life. It is regrettable that some individuals still do not even have good access to potable water. But we should make careful to wash our hands.Attention needs to be paid to handwashing in Nigeria. In times of crisis, only 4% of Nigerians wash their hands properly

1 month ago

If it’s true that hand washing would have an effect on our health in Nigeria, and if our hands are clean from time to time after being washed, we should make hand washing a habitual part of our daily lives

Adeoye Adegoke
Adeoye Adegoke
1 month ago

You’re absolutely right! Handwashing is a critical aspect of personal hygiene that deserves more attention in Nigeria. It’s concerning to hear that only 4 percent of Nigerians practice proper hand hygiene during critical times.
Proper handwashing is one of the most effective and simple ways to prevent the spread of diseases, especially in settings where access to clean water and sanitation facilities may be limited. By washing our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, we can significantly reduce the transmission of harmful germs and bacteria.
To address this issue, there is a need for comprehensive efforts at various levels. Firstly, raising awareness about the importance of handwashing and its impact on public health is crucial. Education campaigns, community outreach programs, and media campaigns can play a significant role in disseminating information and promoting behavior change.
Secondly, ensuring access to clean water, sanitation facilities, and soap is essential. This requires investment in infrastructure and resources to provide adequate facilities in schools, healthcare centers, public spaces, and households. Collaboration between the government, NGOs, and international organizations can help in improving access to these resoures
Lastly, it’s important to address the cultural and behavioral factors that may hinder handwashing practices. Understanding the barriers and misconceptions surrounding hand hygiene in different communities can help tailor interventions to be more effective and culturally appropriate.
By prioritizing hand hygiene and implementing comprehensive strategies, we can make significant progress in improving public health outcomes in Nigeria. It’s a collective responsibility that requires the commitment and collaboration of individuals, communities, organizations, and the government. Together, we can promote a culture of handwashing and safeguard the health and well-being of all Nigerians.