Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

NGOs Sensitise 20 Schools On Hand Washing In Nigeria’s FCT

By Justina Auta & Tosin Kolade

Two Non-Govermental Organisations (NGO), namely: Tabitha Cumi Foundation (TCF) and Self Help Africa, on Friday sensitised students from 20 Nigeria’s FCT schools on the importance of handwashing practices.

The sensitisation was aimed at curtailing the spread of diphteria and other communicable diseases in the country.

Mrs Tayo Erinle, Executive Director, TCF said the exercise was also part of activities to mark the 2023 Global Handwashing Day, with the theme: “Clean Hands are Within Reach.”

“Global Handwashing Day is designated by the UN to draw peoples attention to simple techniques that can save lives, communities and take away unnneccessary expenses that can keep children safe.

“ And the best people to teach are children, if you come to them at that level because they are the ones who play with with sand, interact much more than adults children because they interact more very freely, there can be spread of diseases and sicknesses through children.

“ So, if children have an understanding of the importance of these simple life saving techniques, they can also each others and at the end of that it is taking away sicknesses like diphtheria, diarrhea, stomach upset and alot of ailments. So it is just a simple way of passing a message that can be life changing,” she said.

Dr Joy Aderele, Country Director, Self Help Africa, said the organisation partnered with the Tabitha Cumi Foundation to demonstrate that clean hands are within reach and should be imbibed by all.

She said that targeting young children is deliberate, as they have the willpower to replicate what they learnt from the day’s event at home and among their peers.

According to her, using young people as hygiene heroes is crucial as they are influential and have the means to influence decisions around them. She said her organisation works with a vision of healthy lives for all, working within four thematic areas of food and water security, livelihood supports, waste management and land restoration.

Aderele said although Nigeria still has a long way to go in terms of open defecation-free target, it is important for everyone to keep safe by washing their hands and practicing safe sanitation.

“We want to make sure that the message of clean hygiene is passed across to reduce diseases and also to ensure healthy lives for all.

“It’s not just enough to wash hands, you must wash your hands with soap, it’s the most cost effective way to keep clean and to maintain healthy lives,” she said.

Similarly, Mr Shadrack Guusu, Assistant Head of Programs, Self Help Africa, said: ” Data in Nigeria shows that about 80,000 children die yearly due to water and sanitation related diseases and effective washing of hands can cut that down by at least half of those deaths.

” So the theme of this year’ celebration, we believe that hand washing is very simple. Just practice it at home with with just water and soap and and just because of that we can reduce this avoidable deaths. ” So we targeting these children because they are in their formative ages. And because of that they are able to take these messages, imbibe them and take it back homes, parents, schools to their colleagues as a hygiene heroes promoting the simple act of hand washing.

” I believe that with this more people will be reached, this habit will be imbibed. It leads to healthier lives for Nigerians,” he said.

On his part, Mr Habu Jamilu, representative from the Water Resources Ministry, noted the global health crisis affecting the world, adding that awareness creation will promote good hygiene practices, foster access to clean water and improve sanitation conditions globally.

“Access to clean water and sanitation is a fundamental right that should be accessible to every individual, regardless of their geographical location or social standing.

” Events like the Global Handwashing Day play a vital role in furthering this vision and during positive change.

” Their commitment to sustainable development and their dedication to empowering communities is truly commendable. Together we can work towards achieving safe water and sanitation for all.

“ Let us embrace this occasion as an opportunity to learn, collaborate, strengthen our collective efforts.

” Together, let is reaffirm our commitment to hand washing, clean water and sanitation beyond aid, and work towards a future where every person has the power to protect their health and the health of their communities,” he said. Also, Dr Danlami Hayyo, Mandate Secretary, Education, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), commended the organisers for their supports to the government in promoting hand washing practices amongst young people.

Hayyo, represented by Mrs Magdalene Uzoanya, Director, School Services, FCTA Education Secretariat, said: “The importance of handwashing cannot be overemphasised. The hand is a gateway to the transmission of so many diseases if not neatly or properly washed.

“ Diseases like measles, diphtheria, cholera, dysentery and so many diseases can be transmitted if the hands are not properly cleaned. And it is not just the hand, hygiene generally is very important for our overall health, well being and promotion of longevity in the community.”

Other activities to mark the day were various drama, poem recitations, dance and other presentations by students from Junior Secondary Schools in Wuse, Durumi, Npape, Kubwa, amongst others. (NAN)

 

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