The Widows and Orphans Empowerment Organisation, WEWE, in collaboration with other civil society organisations have emphasised the need for improved hand hygiene practices among Nigerians ahead of the 2020 global handwashing day.
Using its COVID-19 prevention campaign, ‘Effective water, sanitation and hygiene services’, E-WASH, the group says it has commenced advocacy to ensure that handwashing becomes a lifestyle for Nigerians beyond the pandemic era.
The campaign launched during a virtual press briefing on Tuesday is designed to focus on women, children and vulnerable persons with disabilities in underserved communities across the nation.
Executive Director, WEWE, Josephine Ogazi said the campaign is expected to stem the community spread of COVID-19, provide improved access to facts on the disease spread and address the rise in the dissemination of fake news and stigmatization of the disease survivors.
“One of the important measures in stemming the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic is correct hand hygiene practices. WEWE’s will draw the support of the federal and state ministries on risk communication activities and addressing gaps in risk communication on WASH as it pertains to the spread of COVID’’ She said.
“COVID-19 is preventable, it is preventable if we join hands together to observe simple rules laid down by the NCDC,” said Mathew Agboro, the Project Manager, Society for Water and Sanitation, NEWSAN.
He lamented that poor understanding of COVID-19 and the misinformation around it has escalated its community spread in most states, unknown to the public.
The National Amirah, Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations of Nigeria, FOMWAN, Halimat Jibril, said discussions on sanitation must be reinforced among children while the use and availability of water at the family level must be encouraged.
She called on Nigerians to support the government’s efforts on hygiene promotion, social distancing and adaptation of risk communication to suit risk fragile communities.
The civil society coalition has further warned that stemming the spread of the COVID-19 can only be achieved by maintaining healthy lifestyles and imbibing hygiene practices, especially as schools reopen across the country.