As the world celebrates the Global Hand Washing Day, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN), and Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PSN-PACFaH), has urged the federal government of Nigeria and ordinary citizens to embrace regular hand washing with soap and water.
According to the group, hand washing with soap is extremely effective and the most inexpensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI). Pneumonia, a major ARI, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the life of an estimated 1.8 million children per year. Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually.
In Nigeria almost 400,000, (Diarrhoea- 201,368 Pneumonia: 177,212) children under the age of 5 years die from these preventable diseases. Hand washing with soap is estimated to reduce incidents of diarrhea by 30% and respiratory infections by 21% in children under the age of five years.
The group, known as PSN/PACFaH advocates and recommends that, people should cultivate a constant habit of handwashing, wash your hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet, as this simple habit will go a long way in saving more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter.
According to the Program Director of PSN/PACFaH, Femi Adeseun, “It is imperative that people clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their, hand Washing is not only simple and inexpensive, but remarkably, handwashing with soap can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick”.