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Handwashing Day: Govt urged to double investment in clean water, hygiene

On Global Handwashing Day, WaterAid Nigeria has called on the government to double its investment in clean water and hygiene to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day
Pupils during the Global Handwashing Day celebrations

The 2020 Global Handwashing Day themed “Hand Hygiene for All” has been described as a call to action to make hand hygiene a reality for all.

According to WaterAid, the current COVID-19 pandemic highlights the role hand hygiene plays in disease transmission and provides a reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus is also one of the simplest: hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap.

To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, handwashing with soap must be a priority now and in the future, the group stressed, adding that the theme underlines the need to take immediate action on hand hygiene across all public and private settings to respond and control the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The group said it is joining with thousands of others through its celebrity-backed Art of Change competition to call for governments to act by bringing clean water and hygiene to everyone.

The competition was launched in July this year on the 10-year anniversary of water and sanitation being recognised by the United Nations General Assembly as vital human rights, which should be afforded to every person. It attracted 285 artists across 44 countries who produced inspiring artwork on the theme of water and hygiene to help use their art as a force for good and make the voices of millions heard on this important issue.

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WaterAid said the winning Art of Change piece, chosen by the public, “Clean water saves lives”, will be presented to government leaders across the world, together with a letter of support, urging them to make sure everyone has water and hygiene to defend themselves and their communities against diseases – including Covid-19.

Evelyn Mere, Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, said: “It is unacceptable that in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic – where clean water and hygiene offer a vital first line of defence against the disease – over 160 million people in Nigeria are still living without basic handwashing facilities. How can they protect themselves adequately from this and other deadly diseases?

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“As thousands of people across the world demonstrate their support, we are urgently calling on our government to listen and double investment in clean water and hygiene so that everyone, including the most vulnerable in our society, have the chance of a healthy and secure future.”

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