A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) specialist, Mr Bioye Ogunjobi has urged Nigerians to desist from the habit of washing their hands with just water after defecation in order to prevent infection and diseases.
According to him, water alone is not guaranteed to thoroughly clean the hands, hence the need to also make use of soap or ash.
He said, “Proper hand washing means using soap and running water. This is important because when you put water in a bowl to wash your hand, your hand will not be clean because the same dirty water is being used.
“In some rural communities, they use ash which is also a cleaning reagent. It works.
“Why it is important for you to use running water and soap after defecation is because faeces is oily and even when you use tissue paper or water to clean up, it will still stick to your fingers and it takes running water, soap or ash to take it out.
”Only or ordinarily water cannot take away faeces from your fingers. This is why we try to promote proper hand washing which is the use of soap or ash and running water and proper scrubbing of the hands, ” he said.
Speaking further on the need for hygiene, the UNICEF specialist said lack of proper hand washing could cause various disease and infections like typhoid, intestinal worm infections, diarrhea and even cholera.
“People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
“Diarrhea is the second largest killer of children in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, and there is a study that proper hand washing will reduce diarrhea by about 48 per cent.
“Typhoid is also sanitation related and we have also had cases of cholera outbreaks in some states in Nigeria, especially during raining season. With proper hand washing, cases of cholera outbreaks and typhoid will reduce drastically
“Worm infestation is also common among children. If we practice good sanitation such as proper hand washing after defecation, many diseases will be prevented, “Ogunjobi said.