By Vivian Emoni
Abuja, Oct. 15, 2020 Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Environment on Thursday says the Federal Government has distributed hand washing facilities to all the six unity schools in the FCT.
Abubakar made this known while briefing newsmen during the commemoration of International Hand washing Day, with the theme, “Hand Hygiene for All”, in Abuja.
He said the facilities will boost and promote environmental sanitation and hygiene practices among students and teachers in the schools.
Abubakar said the Federal Government in its efforts to promote sanitation and hygiene in school environments has decided to distribute the facilities to the six federal government schools.
“The schools are Federal Government Boys College Apo, Federal Government College, Rubochi, Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, Federal Government Girls College, Abaji, Federal Science Technical College Orozco and Federal Government College, Kwali.
“Today’s event marks yet another effort by the government to promote sanitation and hygiene practices and our focus is reawakening of societal consciousness on the need to wash the hands always,” he said.
Abubakar said that the quest for improved sanitation and hygiene has been on global agenda through the launching of programmes and initiatives.
The Minister said that appropriate and regular washing keep hands healthy and prevent the spread of respiratory and diarrhoeal infections from person to person.
He said the hand serves as a vehicle for transmitting pathogens of respiratory infections.
“It has been reported that more than 3.5 million children in the country suffer from diarrheal diseases.
“Unfortunately, children who are less than five years old are more prone to such diseases due to lack of knowledge about the importance of hand washing.
“A simple act of washing hands with soap can reduce the infection percentage to 50 and reduce any respiratory diseases by 25 per cent.
“Hand washing saves lives; therefore, hands must be washed as much as practically possible with soap.
“Cleaning hands with water and soap under running water and soap removes germs much more effectively,” Abubakar explained.
He said that many people tend to wash their hands only with water, adding that the system is not really the best.
Abubakar said that the ministry in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders will be reviewing the 2005 National Environmental Sanitation Policy and its implementation guidelines.
He said the ministry has carried out disinfection and decontamination of over 200 public and private premises across the country.
“I have also directed the Environmental Health Officers in the ministry and those in local government areas to commence an environmental health surveillance of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, schools, and other public places.
“I advised them to ensure people comply with COVID 19 guidelines and protocols.
“Addressing sanitation and hygiene challenges in the country is necessary and a worthwhile investment for government at all levels.
“This is because, for every N100 spent improving sanitation and hygiene, between N300 and N400 is saved which can be invested in health, education, social and economic development,” Abubakar said.
The minister urged Nigerians, especially those in public and private establishments to ensure adequate provision for sanitation and hygiene including hand washing facilities at all time.