“Hand-Washing practice beyond COVID-19, panacea to disease control”

The need for all and sundry to build on the experience from the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that hand washing and good hygiene practice become a mainstay in public health interventions has been stressed.

The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye stressed this in Asaba during the advocacy, sensitization, dissemination and awareness campaign on the National guidelines for water sanitation and hygiene services in healthcare facilities in the state.

Dr. Ononye who was represented by his Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ejiro Ogheneaga commended partners who in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health organized the event with the view to producing a standardized guideline on hand washing in the country.

“Proper hand washing habit is one of the cheapest most effective things one can do to protect oneself and others against infectious diseases including health workers,” he stated.

“The National Guidelines for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Health Care Facilities in Nigeria is a national document that will provide practical guidance for the effective and efficient provision of standard WASH Services in all health care facilities for improved healthcare delivery,” he added.

The Federal Minister for Health, Osagie Ehanire, in his address, said that the guideline was a comprehensive national document aimed at harmonizing and institutionalizing WASH services as a strategy for infection, prevention and control of diseases in the healthcare facilities in the country.

The Minister who was represented by Mrs. Olufowobi-Yusuf Adeola, Director, Water Safety Management Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja said that though there were pockets of documents on Hygiene and Sanitation there were no comprehensive national guidelines to provide standards and guidance in the provision of WASH services in the health care facilities in Nigeria.

The Minister said that the objective of the national guidelines in strengthening the adequate provision of WASH in the healthcare facilities in Nigeria will continue to support and guarantee adequate healthcare services in Nigeria and also in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6) access to clean and Sanitation and (SDG 3) Good Health and wellbeing.

Earlier, Mr. Boniface in his presentation on the overview of the guidelines said that the availability of National Guidelines will ensure effective monitoring and integration of WASH services in Health Care Facilities.

He said that the goal of the guidelines was to institutionalize Water Sanitation and Hygiene in all healthcare facilities as part of measures to deliver quality healthcare services through infection, prevention and control of diseases.

Explaining further he said the strategy employed is to integrate the implementation of WASH services into regular health sector planning, budgeting and programming to deliver quality services.

Goodwill messages were delivered by the Director, Public Health, State Primary Health Care Development Agency, and Director of Hospital Services, Hospital Management Board as they pledged their buy-in to the programme and will support its implementation.

The highlight of the event was the distribution of the guidelines to participants with a call to them not to use the documents to decorate their shelves but read them with a view to domesticating the policies in their health care facilities.




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