Hand hygiene is a life saver and the easiest way of living the healthy lifestyle was the message communicated to Nigerians during this year’s Global Handwashing Day on October 15 with the theme “Clean hands: healthy future”.
Dettol, the leading antibacterial brand celebrated the 2018 Global Handwashing Day in Abuja to motivate and mobilise people around the world and most especially in Nigeria to improve hand hygiene habits. The campaign was dedicated to raising awareness of hand washing with soap as a key approach to good hygiene and disease prevention. It was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates, related respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as hand washing with soap to reduce diseases.
Below are 5 things we learnt from the global handwashing day event:
1. Hygiene-related diseases such as diarrhoea causes one in five Nigerian children to die each year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), over 150,000 children die in Nigeria from poor hand hygiene, these are scary numbers that could easily have been preventable by washing hands with soap and a clean bowl of water.
2. Nigerians are negligent on the practice of hand washing until a credible threat presents itself, this is a norm that must stop and hand washing should be made to be an integral way of us taking care of ourselves, a good example is the ebola outbreak of 2014 where simple hand washing could have saved countless lives.
3. On a daily basis, we constantly interact with microbes all around us through the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink. These microbes are so tiny that they cannot be seen by the naked eyes and a majority of them cause diseases.
4. The importance of teaching children the benefits of hand washing is paramount, children are the most susceptible to numerous diseases such as influenza, chicken pox, diarrhoea etc. School programs where children are taught the importance of hand washing before the preparation of meal, before and after eating, after going to the toilet, etc.
5. The practice of hand hygiene is the simplest and most effective way of preventing infections which will further help to reduce the death rate in any community. For healthcare personnel, there are “5 moments” for performing hand hygiene: before and after touching a patient, before a clean procedure, after exposure to body fluids, after touching a patient and after touching a patient’s surroundings.
Dettol has been running health and hygiene programmes across Nigeria where new mothers are educated from pregnancy to the birth of the child on healthy hygiene habits across various milestones of their newborn’s life. Over 1 million mothers are engaged every year through the programme in public hospitals and clinics across Nigeria.