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Nigeria marks 2022 global hand washing day

A Handwashing station in Lagos. Photo: Rubenkells

The practice of consistent hand washing has been reported to be very important in the reduction in rates of respiratory infections, eyes and skin ailments and decreases the occurrence of diarrhoea.

Due to its significance in hygiene and well being, the Global Handwashing Partnership initiated the Global Hand washing Day (GHD) in 2008, and the date October 15 was appointed by the United Nations General Assembly to mark the day.

The Global Hand washing Day campaign motivates and mobilises people around the world to improve their hand washing habits.

Seriousness in heeding the call to constant and deliberate handwashing world over became heightened in 2020 during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fear to remain alive during the pandemic led persons to not only be ardent observers of the practice, but to also champion the same within their families, groups and communities.

At that moment, it dawned on Nigeria and some other nations that a bulk of people lacked portable water. But then, more than portable water is needed for a proper hand hygiene.

As at October 2022, the WHO disclosed that 28% of Africa’s population lacked access to hand washing facilities, while 39% had no facilities at all.

Regular hand washing can prevent death

“Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene”, the theme for 2022 Global Hand Washing Day seems to be the best, as the practice that was heightened by the fear of contracting the coronavirus began to wane when vaccines became available and also, when speculations that the pandemic was a hoax began to spread.

If adults embrace the practice of regular hand washing, then children will as well imbibe the habit.

It is also important for nursing mothers to regularly wash their hands as contaminated hands can lead to diarrhoea in children and also cholera.

In Nigeria, diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children, responsible for about 16% of child mortality annually, with an estimated 151,700 children dying yearly from diarrhoea disease.

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reports that from January to September 25, 2022 the nation recorded 2,187 confirmed cases of cholera, including 233 deaths across 31 states.

Yes! Regular hand washing can reduce the chances of contracting cholera, the NCDC amongst other cautions against the disease, advocates regular hand washing.

Why is regular hand washing so important?

We often shake hands, touch door handles, stair rails/banisters, surfaces, the ATM machines and countless other places that might be contaminated.

A regular practice of hand washing might not 100% save you from sicknesses and death, but it can drastically protect you, your family and friends.

Join the campaign today!

Writing by Muzha Kucha