Water Resources minister, Suleiman Adamu, says the hype about the Global Hand-washing Day is beyond commemorating the day but saving Nigerians from health crisis.
“It is important for your personal health and hygiene,” Adamu said at an event in Abuja to mark the day.
“It is not something that should be commemorated once a year; it is something we should be doing all the time. It is just a day to remind people what they should be doing all the time. Simple hand-washing can save you from a lot of health crisis.”
The annual GHD pushes the message that hand washing with soap is effective in preventing diseases.
This year’s theme: “Clean Hands for All”, follows the push to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development Agenda.
Adamu said while the federal government had shown political will to water provision, the primary provision of water and sanitation was the responsibility of state and local government.
“We do intervene, we complement their effort, but that is not to say states should abdicate their responsibility and leave it to the federal government.”
Inequalities to the access of hand-washing facilities and effective hand-washing promotion programmes can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health.
Several partners have keyed into the move to promote hand-washing, provide hand-washing facilities, increase awareness and education around the subject.
Two campaigns targeted school children and new mothers by the antibacterial brand Dettol has helped educate nearly seven million children and five million pregnant and new mothers on proper hygiene habits.
This year, the brand opened a hand-wash station at a market as part of its Clean Naija Initiative, a campaign to create awareness, educate and drive behaviour change to achieve a cleaner and healthier Nigeria, according to Tanzim Rezwan, marketing director for West Africa at Reckitt Benckiser.
“It is not only a commercial entity but we believe that we have to do something for society, for humanity. The purpose we are working toward is healthier lives, happier homes,” said Rezwan.
“Across the globe, across different countries, we are working toward that. We can really bring changes in people’s lives in Nigeria by working with different partners and the government and doing some impactful activities.”