THE Media Network on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), an NGO, has called on Nigerians to make hand washing a `ritual’ in order to be free from some contagious diseases.
Mrs Lizzy Achuagu, the Coordinator of the network, made the call on Thursday in Enugu in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
NAN recalls that Oct.15 of every year is celebrated as Hand Washing Day worldwide.
Achuagu said that such practice would keep diarrhea and other diseases in check.
The coordinator called on parents to inculcate such habits in their children early, adding that diarrhea was the third biggest cause of death among children under five years.
She said that 50 per cent of malnutrition cases were linked to chronic diarrhoea.
Achuagu noted that scarcity of water as well as sanitation challenges in some localities had compounded the poor orientation on hand washing among children.
“Hand washing with soap should be seen as a ritual for long term sustainability in schools, health centres, market places, government and private offices and homes.
“One cannot instruct a child to wash his or her hands without providing water and for this campaign to succeed, government must provide clean water in schools, public places and homes,” she said.
She said that constant practice of hand washing was the panacea for the attainment of the goals of the campaign.
“Hand washing is a ‘do it yourself vaccine’ that should be done consistently at key times such as after using the toilet and before contact with food to prevent infectious diseases.
“It is cheap, easy, effective and affordable,” Achuagu said.
NAN reports that the theme for the 2016 Hand Washing Day is ‘Make Hand Washing a Habit.’