The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said 94 per cent of Nigerians do not practice proper hand washing in the country.
A UNICEF rep, Mr Oumar Doumbouya, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during the 2019 Global Handwashing Day Celebration with the theme: “Clean Hands for All”
According to him, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Nigeria is facing an interesting time with the latest declaration of state of emergency in the sector, the target to put a stop to open defecation by 2025 and government readiness to revitalise the sector.
His words, “Hand washing 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 hand washing with soap under running water.
“Also only six per cent of all households in Nigeria are likely to practice proper hand washing with water and soap at critical times.
“For the remaining estimated 94 per cent, who would be less likely to practice hand washing, their poor hygiene practice affects the rest of us.”
“As Nigeria strives to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across in the section, UNICEF will continue to support government efforts to revitalise the WASH sector through various activities and projects.
“The private sector and academic institutions have key roles to play in using their platforms to promote safe hygiene messages and support WASH interventions in underserved communities.
“I want to urge you all not to promote hand washing with soap under running water and join the campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria.
“But to also recruit others to do the same unit the remaining 94 per cent who are would be less likely to practice hand washing are reached until safe hygiene practices become a norm in our communities.”