Saturday, November 27, 2021

2021 global hand washing day: everyone deserves improved WASH, say CSOs

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Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), under the aegis of Network for Society, Water and Sanitation, have said that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) were basic human rights deserved by all.

Mr Jinjiri Garba, the CSOs’ team leader, said this at a news conference to commemorate the 2021 global hand washing day in Bauchi, on Friday.

According to Garba, because access to safe water was fundamental to humans, it was the right of all citizens.

“Contaminated water jeopardizes the physical and social health of all people. It is an affront to human dignity.

“The right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water; and it must be enjoyed without discrimination and equally by women and men”, he said.

The team leader decried the prevalence of cholera in the state and the outbreak of COVID-19, while calling on the government to be more committed to the provision of inclusive and sustainable water sanitation and hygiene services.

Meanwhile, Dr Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, in a statement to commemorate the global hand washing day, said: “investing in soap and water is a clear ‘no regrets’ investment, in homes, health care facilities and in schools.

Mere said that the promotion of handwashing had been proven to be cost-effective in health and education and that improved water supply would be jeopardised if handwashing with soap was not included in the overall plan.

“Governments should not wait for another crisis to hit the nation before investing wisely in the health and well-being of its people, as well as the resilience of its economy,” she said

Also, in the statement, Mrs Claire Seaward, WaterAid’s Global Campaigns Director, said that the government needed to kickstart a behavioural change campaign on hand hygiene.

Seaward said that government should set out clear roadmaps for achieving hand hygiene for everyone by 2030, and ensure the finance to achieve it.

“Partnerships with businesses will be crucial to strengthening supply chains for hygiene products and services.

“Donors need to rapidly increase their financial support in low and middle-income countries, recognising the critical role that hand hygiene plays in pandemic preparedness and addressing antimicrobial resistance,” she said.

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