Water, Sanitation ministry urged to implement hand hygiene roadmap

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By Tosin Kolade

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation (FMWRS) has been called upon to implement and disseminate the National Roadmap to Hand Hygiene for All (HH4A), spanning from 2021 to 2025.

The call was made in a press statement to commemorate World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5, signed by Ms. Ganiyat Afolayan, the Communications Officer at Mangrove & Partners Limited (MPL) on Sunday.

The statement emphasised the critical importance of handwashing, noting its capacity to prevent up to 50 per cent of avoidable infections acquired during healthcare delivery.

According to the statement, hand hygiene has a means to reduce infectious diarrhea cases by 23-40 per cent, particularly among individuals with weakened immune systems, and to decrease school absenteeism by over 50 per cent.

The organisation stressed the urgent need for innovative training and education to enhance knowledge and capacity building among health and care workers, particularly in infection prevention and control, including hand hygiene.

Afolayan highlighted the crucial role of media practitioners and WASH experts in raising awareness and sensitising the public on the importance of hand hygiene.

She noted the necessity of implementing the National Roadmap to Hand Hygiene for All (2021-2025) to address hand hygiene issues effectively in healthcare facilities and among caregivers.

“Nigeria developed a road map to hand hygiene for all in the year 2021. However, since its launch on September 6, 2022, and one year to its endline date, the document has been unavailable to the public.

“Its dissemination and implementation has been stalled by a lack of funding for Hygiene related activities”.

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Afolayan, quoting WHO, emphasised its fundamental role in safe and effective healthcare systems and its contribution to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.8 on universal health coverage.

Regarding Nigeria’s current hand hygiene landscape, Afolayan pointed out the inadequate access to basic hygiene services, with only 17 per cent of households having such access.

She also highlighted the disparities in proper handwashing practices, with proper demonstration standing at a mere 8 per cent.

Afolayan lamented the challenges faced in implementing the hand hygiene roadmap since its launch in 2021, attributing the delay to a lack of funding for hygiene-related activities.

Despite Nigeria’s ambitious investment goal of $2.5 billion over five years to achieve hand hygiene for all by 2025, Afolayan emphasised the pivotal role of government funding in realising this vision.

Afolayan however, urged the federal government to prioritise hand hygiene initiatives and allocate adequate resources for their implementation.

She emphasised the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure a healthier and safer future for all Nigerians.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Road-map to Hand Hygiene for All (2021-2025) adopts a three-phased approaches.

They are; Response, focusing on immediate COVID-19 needs; Rebuild, aimed at reconstructing hand hygiene systems; and Re-imagine and Sustain, establishing a long-term hygiene culture.

It identifies political leadership for budget allocation and advocacy; an enabling environment for policies and technical capacity; and increasing demand and supply for behavior change and logistics as key components. (NAN) www.nannews.ng

Edited by Gabriel Yough

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