‘94% Nigerians Do Not Wash Hands Properly’

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says 94 per cent Nigerians do not practice proper hand washing in the country.

Oumar Doumbouya, a UNICEF representative said this on Tuesday in Abuja during the 2019 Global Handwashing Day Celebration with the theme: “Clean Hands for All’’.

He said that the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Nigeria was facing an interesting time with the recent declaration of a state of emergency in the sector, the target to end open defecation by 2025 and government commitment’s to revitalise the sector.

 “Handwashing has been proven by several studies to be the most cost-effective intervention in the prevention of communicable diseases. However, the facts and figures do not show that Nigeria is taking advantage of this.

The finding from the 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH-NORM) conducted by the Ministry of Water Resources and National Bureau of Statistics with support from UNICEF, revealed that only 21 per cent of households have access to basic hand hygiene services

“The report also revealed that while only 12.5 per cent of households demonstrated proper handwashing with soap under running water. Also only six per cent of all households in Nigeria are likely to practice proper handwashing with water and soap at critical times. For the remaining estimated 94 per cent, who would be less likely to practice handwashing, their poor hygiene practice affects the rest of us, ‘’ he said.

He also noted that more than 100, 000 children under five die each year due to diarrhoea, of which 90 per cent were directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation. Doumbouya said that Nigeria has a national strategy for the promotion of hygiene, which prioritises hand washing before eating, after using the toilet, and after cleaning a child who defecated.

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