As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2022 Global Handwashing Day, Sightsavers, an international development organisation, on Friday, called on all levels of governments to provide better hygiene facilities to prevent and combat diseases.
This was contained in a statement issued by the organisation, where it stressed the need for improved accessibility to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services by citizens.
The theme for this year’s Global Handwashing Day is ‘Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene’.
The organisation said globally, around three in 10 people – or 2.3 billion – do not have handwashing facilities with water and soap available at home.
“In Nigeria, 21 percent of Nigerians had access to basic handwashing facilities at home in 2018, compared to 16 per cent in 2019, indicating a worrying downward trend.
“This Global Handwashing Day, international development organisation Sightsavers is calling on governments, organisations, donors, and communities to improve access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services as means to reducing and eventual elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
“As a result, Sightsavers has joined forces with the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners to promote the need for improving access to hygiene services,” the statement said.
The statement quoted Mrs Chizoma Opara, National Coordinator, Clean Nigeria Campaign, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, as saying, “Hand hygiene is critical to our lives, we need to make hand washing a habit. Nigeria has developed a roadmap for hand hygiene, and we want to see increased intersectoral collaboration for hand hygiene.”
Dr Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director, Sightsavers said, “Increasing access to WASH services in our communities and prioritising delivery of services based on the needs of each community in the intervention units is key in improving hand hygiene practices and vital for the control and elimination of NTDs.”
Dr Teyil Wamyil Mshelia, Country Coordinator, Trachoma at Sightsavers, said: ‘through strengthening collaboration between NTDs and WASH especially at the local government areas, we will begin to see more prioritised engagements and behaviour change leading to better hand hygiene and face washing and other hygiene management practices to reduce the impact diseases.”