By Bashir Hassan Abubakar
Bauchi State Government and some key stakeholders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector have converge today to commemorate World Hand Washing Day in the State.
Speaking at the occasion held at Hazibal Suites Hotel Bauchi, the State Commissioner of Water Resources Honourable Ahmad Aliyu Jalam, said that it has been ascertained that deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are usually associated with lack of personal hygiene of which hand washing falls under the category, with children being the most vulnerable.
He said that there is a need to take immediate action on hand hygiene across all public and private settings that can serve as a response and control measure to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and cholera epidemic.
The commissioner also called on the general public to imbibe the culture and make it a way of life, even beyond the Covid 19 pandemic and other epidemic in their immediate environment.
“Regular hand washing with soap at critical times has been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrheal diseases by nearly 50 percent and also a recent study found that regular hand washing reduces the infection of Covid-19 by 36 percent.
“Our State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed is fully committed to sustaining and accelerating progress in access to safe water supply, effective sanitation and safe hygiene practices for the continued betterment of the lives of people of the state”, said Jalam
Also speaking, the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) Chief of Field office Bauchi Dr. Tushar Rane said that alot more needs to be invested in providing hand washing amenities in schools where children can have unhindered access to, in a friendly environment.
Represented by the field office WASH specialist , Amoz Kudzala, Dr. Rane said, “this year’s event is yet another opportunity to promote handwashing with soap to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their hand washing habits”.
He also commended Bauchi State Government’s favourable towards WASH interventions and further called on the government to provide more funding support for WASH interventions in the 20 LGAs of the state, as well as consistently release counter contributions to provide WASH facilities for all communities.
There were goodwill messages from relevant partners that includes WaterAid Nigeria, LG WASH, CLTS Coordinators among others.
Meanwhile, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the auspices of Network Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) in the state have also commemorate the Global Hand Washing Day by calling on communities and all other relevant stakeholders to complement Government’s advocacy drive on personal hygiene, by making it a habit to always wash their hands intermittently.
NEWSAN made the call at a press conference to mark the day, held at NUJ Press Center Bauchi.
Representative of NEWSAN Mr Jinjiri John Garba said that as coalition of CSOs in the WASH sector, they have been on the vanguard in creating more awareness on the need for community, especially at the rural areas to imbibe the habit of washing their hands with soap or ash, especially after using toilet.
“We sensitised communities on good hygiene, as a way of safeguarding themselves from falling ill and spending more on medication from their lean resources.
“The Covid 19 pandemic has now made it most to cultivate hand washing practices as a one of the first line of prevention against the scourge, said John.
Our correspondent reports that this year’s Global Hand Washing Day has as it’s theme: “Our Future is at Hand—Let’s Move Forward Together”.