Water Aid has launched the Hygiene for Health Campaign in West African region to ensure the development of Hand Hygiene for all that will improve handwashing behaviour.
The Country Director of Water Aid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere stated this at the launching of Hygiene for health campaign in Abuja.
She added that the campaign is aimed at increasing access to functional, safe, inclusive, equitable and hygiene services in health care facilities.
“We will ensure that government and all stakeholders invest in construction, operation and maintenance of WASH in Healthcare facilities in a sustainable manner. This explains why the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) became natural partners with us on this campaign.”
She added that the absence or lack of adequate WASH facilities can compromise patients’ safety; and exacerbate infection spread.
“It can also increase risks of hospital-acquired infections affecting staff, caregivers and vulnerable patients; higher healthcare costs for patients; as well as undermine efforts to improve child and maternal health.”
The Country Director noted that policies and frameworks must be backed by action for change to occur.
“These are some of the changes that this campaign hopes to achieve to ensure that we build back better and can face future pandemics with greater courage. That never again will ebola, COVID-19 or cholera kill our people or trachoma cause our children to go blind. Scientists predict with climate change upon us, the next pamdemic is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when”.
The Chief of WASH UNICEF Nigeria who was represented by Job Ominiyi explained that , according to WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) 2019, in the West and Central Africa region (WCAR), access to basic drinking water service is estimated at only 45% compared to the global average of 76%.
“In Nigeria, only 4% of the health facilities have combined access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services, while 5% have access to only basic hygiene and sanitation and 14% have access to only basic water and hygiene services. The desire is to have access to all three basic services of water, sanitation and hygiene but it is grossly lacking.”
He added that the current coronavirus pandemic coupled with the resurgence of other health crises such as the nationwide outbreaks of cholera is a stark reminder of the need for essential WASH supplies and services in hospitals, clinics and birthing and nutrition centers to prevent diseases and ensure quality patient care.
“The most effective and immediate action must be to ensure adequate WASH services in health care facilities to prevent and control infections, improve the quality of care and protect practitioners and healthcare seekers from the growing but avoidable health crises in the country”.