We Must Be Inclusive in Addressing Hand Washing Disparities – Water Minister

Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu

ABUJA – (Water Resources Ministry Report) – The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman H. Adamu, (Engr) has stated that stakeholders must be inclusive when addressing hand washing disparities as it occurs across wealth quintiles, geographical locations and vulnerable groups.

The Minister made the statement on Thursday, 10th of October, 2019 in Abuja during the Ministerial Press Briefing held to commemorate the 2019 Global Hand Washing Day with the theme: “Clean Hands for All.”

In his address, Suleiman Adamu (Engr) noted that the absence of WASH facilities, including hand washing stations in schools, healthcare facilities, and workplaces is an equity issue for girls and women, particularly for menstrual hygiene management. He informed that the availability of hand washing stations can stop the spread of diseases in these settings, implying that adapting these facilities for the use of people with disabilities will ensure their accessibility.

The Minister maintained that behaviour change is required for people to wash their hands consistently at key times as it will help to ensure sustenance of the efforts to end Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) such as River Blindness, Lymphatic Filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Soil – Transmitted Helminthes and Schistosomiasis.

He mentioned that October 15 of every year was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap, which is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases. Adding, other activities lined up at the national level to commemorate the 2019 Global Hand washing Day which is being co-ordinated by the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS) include:

• the finals of the Quiz Competition on WASH organized for selected schools across 10 States which will hold on Monday, 14th October, 2019 at Rockview Hotel, Abuja,

• symbolic hand washing and commemoration event on Tuesday, 15th October, 2019 at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja sponsored by Action Against Hunger, UNICEF and Reckyitt Benckiser,

• engagement of the social media platforms of the Ministry and other partners in actively creating awareness and disseminating key messages on hand washing through this period and beyond.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Director of Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Awe Emmanuel stated that the objective of the commemoration is to create awareness about hand washing with soap, educate children on the importance of hand washing and hygiene against the background that prevention is better than cure, involvement of the private sector in the promotion of hand washing and sensitizing Nigerians on the need to always wash their hands with soap at critical times.

Other participants at the press briefing session were the Directors and staff of FMWR, Development Partners and Civil Society Organisations (CLOs).