Bauchi State Government has pledged to take immediate action to further boost awareness on hand hygiene across all public and private sectors to control the the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus and cholera epidemic that hit the state.
The Commissioner for Water Resources, Ahmad Jalam, gave the assurance on the occasion of the commemoration of the 2021 Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD) held at Hazibal Suites, Bauchi, in Friday.
Jalam recalled that COVID-19 and cholera had ravaged the state, hence the need to build on the momentum to make hand hygiene a mainstay in public health interventions beyond the epidemic and pandemics.
He said the theme for this year’s celebration, ‘Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together’, is a simple message, ‘yet correctly washing your hands with a soap under clean running water before you eat or prepare food and after you have been to the toilet can stop you getting sick and stop you spreading disease-carrying germs to your family and friends’.
The Commissioner stated that reports showed that a large proportion of deaths recorded each year , especially in developing countries were related to poor access to water , sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
“However, regularly washing hands with soap, at critical times , has been shown to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36 percent. Proper and effective hand washing also plays an important role in reducing the transmission of out-break related diseases such as cholera, Ebola, shigellosis, SARS, Hepatitis B, C and E, Lassa Fever’
The Commissioner stated that water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) is one of the key priorities of the Governor Bala Mohammed administration, explaining that significant progress has been made in the improvement of safe water supply and effective sanitation, in both towns and communities in the state.
The Commissioner thanked development partners such as United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF), Water Aid, JICA, Civil Society Organization (CSOs) Community Based Organisation (CBOs), saying they have contributed to the impressive records in water, hygiene and sanitation intervention across the state.
In his good will message , the Chief of Field Office , UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi, Tushar Rane, explained that since 2008, millions of people showed every year the importance of handwashing on October 15.
Rane, who was represented by Mr Amose Kudzala, WASH Specialist at the occasion, explained that this year’s handwashing day was an opportunity to promote handwashing with soap to motivate and mobilise people around the world to improve their handwashing habits.
“With the ongoing efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 virus, and deal with cholera, this is unique opportunity for the world to leverage to communicate the importance of handwashing with soap and running water,’ he said.
The Chief of Field Office UNICEF, Bauchi, disclosed that Bauchi State was the leading state in the implementation of WASH related interventions in Nigeria.
He assured of the continuous partnership with the state government to provide more funding for WASH interventions in the 20 local government areas of the state.