The Bauchi State Government is targetting no fewer than 200 schools and 200 communities in the state for the commemoration of the Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD) 2017.
This was disclosed by the Permanently Secretary, Bauchi State Rural Water Supply Agency (RUWASSA), Engr. Garba Magaji, at a press briefing, in Bauchi, on Sunday.
“As you are aware, in 2008, the 15th day of October every year was designated by the UN General Assembly, as GHWD, a day dedicated to raising awareness and understanding about the importance and benefits of the simple act of hand washing with soap or ash as an effective and affordable way of preventing diseases and saving lives especially that of children,” he said.
Magaji explained that no fewer than 5,000 people in the state were expected to be reached with the GHWD 2017 message with the theme “Our Hands, Our Future”.
He said at least 250 pupils each from the eight Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) Project supported across the local government areas in the state were expected to participate during the celebration.
He emphasised that regular washing of hands with soap or ash had been shown to reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by 50 percent and pneumonia by 25 percent.
Magaji also disclosed that the state had made significant progress in the improvement of access to safe water and effective sanitation, especially in rural communities.
“But lack of toilet and hand washing facilities in homes and schools is negatively impacting on the gains, especially in relations to public health.
“Disparities in public health status and well-being are clear between the over 2000 Open Defecation Free (ODF) communities in the state especially in Dass that is LGA-Wide ODF, and communities and LGA that are Open Defecation (OD) is prevalent,” he noted.
He urged that to save lives and reduce the spread of diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and other viral infections such as pneumonia, measles and so on, “it is vital that we combine our expertise and communication to raise awareness and promote safe sanitation practices”
He called for the construction of more toilets in communities and regular practice of hand washing with soap or ash before eating and after going to the toilet so as to support the government’s efforts at improving public health.
He, therefore, commended the UNICEF, DFID, JICA, WANG, NEWSAN, CSOs and CBOs, who he said, have all contributed to the progress recorded in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) interventions in the state.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar is resolutely committed to sustaining and accelerating progress in access to safe water supply, effective sanitation and safe hygiene practices among the citizens of the state.