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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Lack of hand washing, kills over 300,000 in 2015 – UNICEF

The spate of cholera in aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti and with a new outbreak of war-in Yemen, have made it difficult for children, families and communities to make washing hands with soap a habit to help prevent the spread of diseases, says United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), reports NaijaAgroNet.

This is coming as UNICEF said over 300,000 lives should have been saved if hand washing has become a habit globally.

Chief of Communication for UNICEF Nigeria, Ms Doune Porter, told NaijaAgroNet that as the world celebrate the Global Handwashing Day, UNICEF has discovered that, in 2015 alone, over 300,000 children under the age of five died globally from diarrhoeal infections linked to poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation – a rate of over 800 per day.

“Yet many of these deaths could have been prevented through the simple act of handwashing with soap,” she said.

Porter quoted the UNICEF’s global head of water, sanitation and hygiene Sanjay Wijesekera as saying that every year, 1.4 million children are dying from largely preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea.

“These are staggering numbers, but they could be greatly reduced by working with children and families to adopt a very straightforward solution – handwashing. We know, for example, that handwashing with soap before meals and after using the toilet could reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal infections by 40 per cent,” Sanjay said.

In addition, NaijaAgroNet gathered that a recent survey conducted by UNICEF in Nigeria found that about 10 per cent of households did not know about the critical times to wash hands and could not demonstrate proper handwashing techniques.

The survey, Porter further said revealed that only 12 per cent of households have handwashing facilities with soap or ash located at their latrines.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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