Bad Water: 150,000 children lost to diarrhea yearly – Minister
As part of activities to commemorate the 2016 Global Hand-washing Day, with the theme:’ making Hand-Washing a Habit The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, has reiterated the need for regular hand-washing with soap as the most affordable and effective way of preventing the spread of water-borne diseases such as cholera, diarrhea and pneumonia, saying that Nigeria loses over 150,000 children to diarrhea every year,
largely caused by unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene practices., the minister said, due to poor hygiene and sanitation, 1.7 million children reportedly die from diarrhea and pneumonia globally each year, while 242 million school days are missed due to diarrhea. Also, he said an estimated 15 per cent of patients globally develop one or more infections in hospital.
The minister noted that the theme of this year’s Global Hand-washing Day, “Make Hand Washing a Habit,” was aimed at engaging children as agents of change and catching them young through behavioural change.
According to him, hand-washing was a choice that everyone could make multiple times a day in order to create a healthier environment.
Adamu further disclosed that a recent survey conducted by UNICEF in six states suggests that an average of 82 per cent of people wash their hands before eating, while only 53 per cent wash their hands with soap after defecation, and expressed satisfaction over the premium place by the current administration on water and sanitation, which led to the endorsement of a new policy on water, aimed at addressing challenges in accessing water, sanitation and hygiene across the country.