The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, has said that transmission of communicable diseases such as ebola, lassa fever and monkeypox virus can be contained with the simple act of handwashing with soap.
The Minister disclosed this at the 2017 Global Handwashing Day celebration held on Monday 16thOctober, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Nigeria celebrated the Global Handwashing Day today with the rest of the world with the theme,” Our hands, our future”. Global Handwashing Day is set aside by the United Nations General assembly on October 15 every year, to create awareness on the importance of hand washing with soap or ash as a way to prevent diseases.
Adamu said, “We are here today to create awareness on the importance of hand washing with soap in recognition of the role that children can play as agents of change in cultivating the good hygienic practice of washing hands with soap at critical times”.
Speaking further, he said Nigeria suffers from the ill effect of poor hygiene, recording over 59, 000 deaths of children before the age of five annually out of the 1.7 million cases recorded globally as a result of diarrhoea, pneumonia and other sanitation and hygiene related diseases.
“Adopting the behavior of hand washing with soap, is adjudged as one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diseases”, he said.
Delivering his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Musa Ibrahim said that focus should be on children as they are agents of change in cultivating the habit of washing hands with soap, through the institution of group hand washing in schools.
“It is therefore my believe that all these efforts will help in impacting the habit of hand washing not only in our schools but also in our homes, health care facilities, and work places as we move towards building a healthy and virile nation” he added.
Mr. Moustapha Niang, the representative of UNICEF Nigeria appreciated the ministry for inviting UNICEF to this year’s Handwashing Celebration. He said that handwashing with soap is very important to save lives and is therefore most effective and is a high impact intervention.
He stressed the need to always wash our hands at most critical times after using the toilet and before getting in contact with food.
In conclusion, the Minister, school pupils and other dignitaries at the event demonstrated handwashing with soap and water.