Dr Stephen Fagbemi, an epidemiologist with the Ondo State Government, has restated that the need for Nigerians to cultivate regular handwashing habit, saying it was capable of saving the country from a lot of diseases.
Fagbemi, in an interview, said diseases like malaria, diarrhoea, hepatitis A, cholera, typhoid, and measles can be avoided by simple regular hand washing habits.
“The first thing is to create awareness, sometimes people need to know that it is the simple things that save a lot of time, but when things are so simple we often overlook them. Handwashing is a habit that people should cultivate right from home. Regular hand washing after toilet, after holding currency can go a long way in keeping people healthy.
“People should be enlightened that to properly wash their hands with soap and water; the front of the hands, the back of the hands, in between the fingers needs to be thoroughly washed then air dried it. They should also avoid sharing towels and handkerchiefs with people” Fagbemi said.
The Epidemiologist also urged parents to create a culture of hand washing at home by being good examples to their children so that as the child is growing up, he or she will live with the consciousness that not practising regular hand washing could expose him or her to germs which could also affect his or her health.
He called on the government and other stakeholders to ensure that public spaces should have access to running water which would enhance the hand washing habit.
“Apart from educating the people, we should ensure there are handwashing spaces in public spaces. When the facilities are available it is easy to encourage people to imbibe the habit. Many diseases can be prevented by simple handwashing habits. It is not about sanctioning, because when you force people to do it, the desired result will not be achieved.”
Speaking at the unveiling of Dettol’s Clean Naija initiative, General Manager, Reckitt Benckiser, Mr Dayanand Sriram, said hand washing was critical for a healthy life, stressing that Nigeria will save a lot of lives if the habit is imbibed. Sriram advised Nigerians to engage in regular and proper hand washing after using the toilet and after touching money.
He said the lacking of handwashing habit has left many with germ-filled hands, making people to be prone to preventable diseases such as diarrhoea, and other severe infections.