As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2021 Global Handwashing Day, the Minister of State, Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, has affirmed that access to sanitation and hygiene is not only a fundamental human right that safeguards public health and human dignity, but also a critical step in disease prevention and control.
The Global Handwashing Day, celebrated on October 15 annually, is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases, save lives and help nations in meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) 3 and 6.
According to the Minister, “addressing sanitation and hygiene challenges in the country is a necessary and a worthwhile investment for government at all levels. Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians especially those in authority (Public or Private) to ensure adequate provision for sanitation and hygiene including handwashing facilities.”
Ikeazor emphasised further that the advent of Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating global effect provides an important reminder that hand hygiene is a fundamental component of health and safety.
She, therefore, called on countries to start planning for the future as they continue to strengthen their Covid-19 response and accelerate their pace for full recovery, a move that will reduce vulnerability to new outbreaks and help countries control diarrheal and respiratory diseases.
”Hand washing is a simple, cost-effective and yet very impactful intervention to significantly improve the health, education, social and economic status of our dear country. The hand must be washed as much as practically possibleIn this regard,
“The Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with stakeholders has over the years taken steps to deliver adequate sanitation and hygiene services to the citizenry which include but are not limited to: capacity building, provision of handwashing facilities in schools advocacy/sensitization, environmental health surveillance of public places development of policies, regulatory and legislative frameworks, implementation of relevant programmes and projects as well as the establishment of relevant regulatory and enforcement agencies,” she stated.
The Ministry in collaboration with stakeholders will be marking this year’s Global Handwashing Day with activities such as Training Workshop on Hand Hygiene and Sanitation for students and teachers in the six Unity Schools in FCT, Quiz competition on sanitation and hygiene practices for selected primary schools in FCT, Community sensitisation and hygiene practices for selected primary schools in FCT, Community sensitisation and awareness creation on handwashing, Global Handwashing Day Commemoration on Friday, October 15, 2021 at Federal Unity School Apo FCT and presentation of handwashing materials and equipment to schools.