Handwasing Day: Access to sanitation, hygiene safeguard public health- Ikeazor



By Rosemary Ogbonnaya

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the 2021 Global Handwashing Day, the Minister of State Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor has affirmed that access to sanitation and hygiene is not only a fundamental human right that safeguards public health and human dignity, but also a critical step in disease prevention and control.

Ikeazor disclosed this in a press statement issued to journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

She explained that the world Handwashing Day celebrated on the 15th of October annually is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an and affordable way to prevent diseases, save lives and help nations in meeting Sustainable Development Goal,SDGs,3 and 6.

The Minister said addressing sanitation and hygiene challenges in the country was a necessary and a worthwhile investment for government at all levels.

She called on Nigerians especially those in authority (Public or Private) to ensure adequate provision for sanitation and hygiene including handwashing facilities.

According to her, the advent of COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating global effect provides an important reminder that hand hygiene is a fundamental component of health and safety.

She therefore, called on countries to planning for the future as they continue to strengthen their COVID-19 response and accelerate their pace for full recovery, a move that will reduce vulnerability to new outbreaks and help countries diarrheal and respiratory diseases.

“Hand washing is a simple, cost- and yet impactful intervention to significantly improve the health, education, social and economic status of our dear country.

“The hand must be washed as much as practically possible.
In this regard, The Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with stakeholders has over the years taken steps to deliver adequate sanitation and hygiene services to the citizenry which include but are not limited to: capacity building, provision of handwashing facilities in schools advocacy/sensitization, environmental health surveillance of public places development of policies, regulatory and legislative frameworks, implementation of relevant programmes and projects as well as the of relevant regulatory and enforcement agencies,” she said.

She said Ministry in collaboration with stakeholders will be marking this year’s Global Handwashing Day with activities such as Training Workshop on Hand Hygiene and sanitation for students and teachers in the 6 Unity Schools in FCT, Quiz competition on sanitation and hygiene practices for selected primary schools in FCT, Community sensitization and hygiene practices for selected primary schools in FCT, Community sensitization and awareness creation on handwashing, Global Handwashing Day Commemoration on Friday 15th October 2021 at Federal Unity School Apo and presentation of handwashing materials and equipment to schools.