Hand hygiene is a lifesaver 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”
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. Over the past years, Dettol has provided handwashing sites and educated over 7 million children, parents and teachers about the importance of handwashing through the School Hygiene Program, which is a mass education program about proper handwashing and hygiene habits.
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.