Hand Washing Still Protects Against Diseases

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has urged Nigerians to imbibe the habit of washing their hands with soap before and after eating to avoid the spread of diseases. 

 UNICEF Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Specialist, Mr Taru Murindi, made the call   in Akwanga during a six-day capacity building for 32 participants from Nasarawa State on Community Infant and Young Child Feeding Counselling.

Murindi said that hand washing was essential to boosting human health and urged regular practice before eating, after eating and after toilet use.

He urged participants at the capacity building, sponsored by UNICEF in collaboration with Nasarawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency, to intensify efforts toward educating their communities on the importance of hand washing and its impact on human health and national development.

The specialist said “hand washing prevents the spread of diseases. It is one of the important aspects of disease prevention.

“It is a practice that must be done and must be promoted because it is important for general wellbeing.” He also urged Nigerians to always keep their environment clean in the interest of their health and for the overall development of the country.

A medical practitioner, Dr Zakari Adam, said that the training was aimed at equipping nutritional health personnel with skills for effective healthcare service delivery. He also urged Nigerians to ensure that they kept their environment clean and to always wash their hands to prevent the spread of disease.

Esther Auta, the Director of Primary Health Care, Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, commended UNICEF for sponsoring the training and called for its sustenance.

 She said that health intervention by UNICEF had brought improvement in the health status of the people of the area.

‘Why Women Live Longer Than Men’

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report says men are more likely to die earlier than women. The “2019 World Health Statistics” published on the WHO website on Thursday, said that where men and women faced the same disease, women often seek health care less than men.

“Women outlive men everywhere in the world particularly in wealthy countries and the World Health Statistics 2019 disaggregated by sex for the first time explains why.

“In countries with generalised HIV epidemics for example, men are less likely than women to take an HIV test, less likely to access antiretroviral therapy and more likely to die of AIDS-related illnesses than women. Similarly, male Tuberculosis (TB) patients appear to be less likely to seek care than female TB patients.”

It said that of the 40 leading causes of death globally, 33 causes contribute more to reduced life expectancy in men than in women.

The report quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, as saying that breaking down data by age, sex and income group was vital to understanding who was being left behind and why.

“The gap between men’s and women’s life expectancy is narrowest where women lack access to health services. In low-income countries, where services are scarcer, one in 41 women die from a maternal cause, compared with one in 3,300 in high-income countries. In more than 90 per cent of low-income countries, there are fewer than four nursing and midwifery personnel per 1000 people.

Also, Dr Samira Asma, the WHO Assistant Director General for Data, Analytics and Delivery, said that these statistics underscored the need to prioritise primary health care urgently to effectively manage noncommunicable diseases and to curb risk factors.

“Healthy life expectancy at birth which is the number of years one can expect to live in full health has increased from 58.5 years in 2000 to 63.3 years in 2016. Life expectancy remains strongly affected by income; in low-income countries, life expectancy is 18.1 years lower than in high-income countries. One child in every 14 born in a low-income country will die before their fifth birthday,” Asthma said.

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