THE WORLD might have celebrated the global handwashing day but Nigerians are still being reminded of the essence of frequently washing of hands as the only solution to prevent infectious killer diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia among families.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) Project in Nigeria have been educating the Public on the importance of embracing regular Handwashing with Soap and Water.
According to the group in a statement, evidence from the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey 2013 (NDHS 2013) reveals that about 854,000 children out of approximately 7m annual live-birth die before their fifth birthday in the country as a result of poor sanitation.
It noted that most of these deaths are preventable and largely treatable of the infectious.
For instance the NDHS 2013 further explains that even out of every 1,000 live-births, another 128 die before they mark their fifth birthday which means that at least one out of every eight children in the country would die before they celebrate their fifth birthday.
The demography survey identifies pneumonia and diarrhoea as responsible for almost 14% and 9% of under-five (U-5) mortality rates respectively.
The PSN-PACFaH pointed out that poor sanitation has been mainly responsible for these avoidable deaths and urged Nigerians to take advantage of the 2016 handwashing theme: ‘Make Handwashing a Habit’ to have a behavioural change in habit and save precious lives of Nigerian children.
Sanitation is a major contributing factor to these avoidable U-5 years’ deaths. The 2016 Global
The grouop referred to a study by Ejemot R.I. et al which shows that (habitual) handwashing with soap and water could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses adding, diarrhoea episodes and eventual mortality can be reduced by almost half if handwashing is practiced continually.
Proper handwashing involves the use of water and soap/ash especially after using the toilet/bathroom; before and after eating; before and after breastfeeding and after every out-door activity etc.
Although, most people wash their hands with water but it is the use of soap or ash that can actually remove germs (microscopic harmful organisms) that cause ill-health.