The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has enjoined health workers and the public to regularly wash their hands in order to protect themselves from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
The Director General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated this during a lecture organised by the centre in collaboration with the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Jabi, Abuja, to mark this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day.
Represented by Dr Chinwe Ochu, Director of Prevention Programme and Knowledge Management at the centre, Dr Ihekweazu said hand washing was an effective way of preventing diseases for health workers, patients and the general public.
While noting that COVID-19 had further underscored the need for hand washing, he said hand washing facilities or sanitisers needed to be provided at the points of care to ensure safety of health workers and patients.
The centre said it launched the “Orange Network” in 2019, a network of dedicated tertiary health facilities in Nigeria supported by NCDC, to become centres of excellence in infection prevention and control.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of FMC, Jabi, Prof Saad, described hand hygiene as a simple and costless procedure that reduced a lot of morbidity and mortality in the health sector.
Prof Saad said this year’s Hand Hygiene Day commemoration was focused at the points of care – that is hospitals and health care workers.
He further said, “Here we look at three elements, the health worker himself, the patient and also the treatment or procedure that is being given. Within this circle, you need to break the cycle of transmission of infectious diseases, otherwise one can pick some diseases from the patient back to the health worker or from the health worker back to the patient; or even transmit from one patient to another patient.
“So it is essential that one should wash hands before treating any patient, and after examining one patient going to the next, do the same thing.”
He added that his hospital had an Infection, Prevention and Control Committee (IPCC) that had trained staff and monitored compliance.