End to dilapidated facilities for handwashing may be at sight as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Manager in Maiduguri, Mamita Bora Thakkar, is seeking budgetary allocation to hygiene and handwashing in the country.
Thakkar was reported to have spoken yesterday to mark Global Handwashing Day at Ramat Square, Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
“Currently, no dedicated budgets exist for hygiene and handwashing in the health sector at three the tiers of government,” she said.
A report by The Guardian said she called for the re-positioning of hand hygiene needs of the country, adding that it should inform the government’s decisions on investments in the health sector.
In a related development, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa has concluded plans to launch its WASH-PSHE Clubs in schools across Lagos, Kwara, Osun, Federal Capital Territory and Accra in Ghana. This followed events to mark the 2021 Global Handwashing Day,
According to a statement, yesterday, in Lagos, following the report, the WASH-PSHE Team would be visiting Akande Dahunsi Senior School, Ikoyi, to train the students on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standard for hand washing and also establish the WASH-PSHE Club.
The foundation explained that the visit was is in line with the mandate to train one million children on proper hygiene and sanitation, a mandate which began in 2018 and was strategic to the global fight against Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), especially the recent COVID-19 global pandemic.
The foundation would also carry out demonstrations, which would be given by MamaCare midwives at healthcare facilities across its states of operation, focused on the importance of handwashing to prevent the spread of germs and diseases.
Reports say its Founder-President, Mrs. Toyin Ojora Saraki said: “I am delighted to announce that the Wellbeing Foundation Africa will be launching its WASH-PSHE Clubs across schools in Nigeria, as we commemorate this year’s Global Hand Washing Day. The foundation’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme set a community standard in line with the WHO mandate to promote Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) in healthcare facilities and communities.”
The Foundation’s Advocacy and Communications Manager, Mr. Joseph Chima Matthew, also said: “The Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s WASH-PSHE Programme in schools and healthcare facilities is leading the fight against life-threatening diseases such as Sepsis, Pneumonia, Lassa fever and the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
He said more than 215,000 children under the age of five die in Nigeria every year from preventable infectious diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia, while only 29 per cent of Nigerians have access to improved sanitation.
Matthew worried that poor children are about four times more likely to get diarrhoea disease than rich children due to poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and noted that through their frontline health workers and staff, they are committed to reaching every mother and every child in communities across the country to ensure proper sanitation and hygiene.