An NGO, WaterAid Nigeria, on Thursday urged governments to redouble their investments on clean water and hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Mrs Oluseyi Abdulmalik, Communications and Media Manager of WaterAid Nigeria, made the call in Bauchi in a statement to commemorate the 2020 Global Hand washing Day, with the theme, ‘Hand Hygiene for All”.
She said that the call to action was necessary to make hand hygiene a reality for all Nigerians and globally.
She said: “The current COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical role hand hygiene plays in disease transmission and one of the most effective ways to stop the spread is hand hygiene, especially through hand washing with soap.
“To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, hand washing with soap must be a priority now and in the future,” she said.
Abdulmalik said the theme of the celebration reminds people of the need to take immediate action on hand hygiene across all public and private settings to respond and control the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, a staggering 84% of people in Nigeria, about 167 million, do not have basic hand washing facilities available on premises with water and soap.
“Without this frontline defence, the risk of the virus spreading in communities is greater,” she warned, noting that 90% of schools do not have basic hand washing facilities with soap and water, leaving children vulnerable not only to Covid-19 but also to other infectious diseases.
Abdulmalik pointed out that access to water, sanitation and hygiene services are fundamental to improving health, livelihoods, gender equality, education outcomes that will drive economic and sustainable development.