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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Group wants hand washing facilities in health centres

The Network of Civil Societies on Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) has called for the provision of hand washing facilities in all health centres to promote hygiene and effective service delivery.

Nkiruka Okafor, 40, a volunteer nurse washing her hands thoroughly with water bought and stored, before attending to patients at the Zuma Primary Health Centre, Abuja, Nigeria

National Coordinator, NEWSAN, Mr Benson Attah, made the call at a sensitisation campaign on hand washing to pregnant women at the Township Clinic, Gwagwalada, FCT on Wednesday, October 31, 2018.

He noted that the group had always re-echoed the need for all tiers of government to ensure the provision of basic hygiene facilities in public places, especially in health centres.

Attah said that the intervention was in line with the mandate and commitment towards the enhancement of life, health and wellbeing of the citizens through improved service delivery.

He said the choice of the maternity section of the hospital followed an outcome of assessments carried out between June and July, which saw a huge gap in access to hand washing facilities.

“This year alone, not less than 20 states in the country have recorded no fewer than 30,000 cases of cholera and we all are aware of the socio-economic implications of such situation on the citizens.

“Needless to say that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is the gateway to both national and personal development, as it impacts directly on most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said.

He said that any country that has not attained improved WASH services delivery cannot attain development.

“Access to WASH is central to National Development, we hereby call on mothers and indeed all women to lead their families in ensuring that every family member imbibe the Hand Washing Practice,” he said.

He said the availability and use of hand washing facilities would prevent infections arising from poor hygiene, noting that lack of hand washing facilities poses health risks to patients, health workers and nearby communities.

The coordinator said that when such facilities were in place, it would augment efforts of the Ministries of Health and Water Resources in scaling up hygiene promotion and practices in the country.

He said that there was the need for sector collaboration and support to the civil societies to monitor access and implementation of programmes towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals before 2030.

“Adopting the behavior of hand washing with soap, ash and water is adjudged to be one of the most cost-effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diseases, cutting deaths from acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.’’

The FCT Coordinator of NEWSAN, Mr Williams Ngwakwe, said the sensitisation campaign was targeted at expectant mothers because it has been reported that diarrhoea kills under-five children most.

He said that equipping them with the knowledge and skills of hand washing would make them imbibe the culture and overall behaviour change.

Ngwakwe said addressing the issue of hygiene through hand washing was more beneficial than treatment.

Mr Umar Bako, the clinic’s Chief Nursing Officer, while commending the team on the awareness campaign, called for interventions to renovate the clinic.

He said the area, which was already water-logged due to poor drainage system, needed immediate interventions, while calling for the construction of more toilets in the area.

By Tosin Kolade

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