By Chioma Obinna
To mark this year’s Global Hand Washing Day, the Federal government and Dettol Nigeria, have emphasised the relevance of hand hygiene as a tool to decrease hygiene-related diseases.
Speaking during an event to further show Dettol’s dedication to advancing the cause of hand hygiene with the theme: “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene”, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Sulaimon Hussein Adamu said: “Through this celebration, we are further raising awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap as a fundamental action of hygiene for our well-being — in line with the objectives of the UN General Assembly.”
Represented by a Director in the Ministry, Mrs. Elizabeth Ugoh, explained that though hygiene is a critical element of an integrated approach to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service delivery, an estimated 2.3 billion people globally and 171 million Nigerians do not have access to hygiene services.
“In Nigeria, only 13 per cent of the rural population has access as against 25 per cent of the urban population, while the wealthiest households are about four times more likely to have basic handwashing services compared to the poorest households.”
“The theme is, therefore, a call to action to build on the progress made from previous years by uniting to ensure hand hygiene access and practice for everyone, everywhere.
“On the part of government, there has been increased prioritisation of hygiene programming and deployment of needed resources. I would also particularly appreciate our partners for their financial and technical support, in the promotion of sanitation and hygiene, through programmes and activities aimed towards the attainment of SDG Goal 6 for water and sanitation.”
The Marketing Director, Reckitt Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Tanzim Rezwan, explained that the purpose of the annual Global Handwashing Day, was to raise public awareness of the necessity of hand hygiene across the globe.
“With Dettol, we have made this vision more than a one-day activity and are devoted to seeing Nigerians inculcate a handwashing lifestyle as reports have stated that diarrhoea prevention focused on safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation is not only possible but cost-effective.
“With our veritable cache of initiatives such as the Dettol Clean Naija Initiative, the introduction of the Hygiene Quest Curriculum, and our recent partnership with Wellbeing Foundation Africa, we are well on our way to fulfilling our vision of impacting six million children with healthy hygiene and handwashing habits by 2025.”
Over the past eight years, Reckitt Nigeria has, through the brand, become a hub of inspirational public health campaigns aimed at revolutionising the hygiene habits of Nigerians of all ages and gender. Through the School Hygiene Quest Programme and New Mum’s Programme, the brand has furthermore begun to build new hygiene habits in children of all ages at various educational levels.