Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) is set to embark on a major global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) campaign.
The campaign was launched by H.E. Mrs Toyin Saraki recently in Abuja following a meeting with Dr. Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Nigeria.
The launch of WBFA’s campaign follows the UN Secretary General’s call to action on WASH in healthcare facilities in March and coincides with the WHO’s ‘Save Lives: Clean your Hands’ campaign day, which takes place on 5th May each year. The 5th May is also ‘International Day of the Midwife,’ with the theme this year being ‘Midwives leading the way with quality care.’
While speaking at the inauguration, Mrs Saraki said: “I am delighted that the WBFA is partnering with Global Water 2020 and others to improve WASH facilities at healthcare centres and schools around the world.
“In an analysis of 129,000 healthcare facilities in the developing world, researchers found more than 65 percent of facilities lack both running water and soap for handwashing. This endangers not only patients and staff but presents a danger to all of society, as health facilities become unable to contain diseases.”
“This campaign will also champion the improvement of WASH facilities in schools. The physical environment and cleanliness of schools significantly affects the health and well-being of children. Too often, they are spaces where disease spreads quickly, without hand-washing facilities, soap or suitable toilets. Together, we will create a world where all children go to school and all schools provide a safe, healthy and comfortable environment where children grow, learn and thrive.”
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Nigeria, said that health facilities must be a focus in order to concentrate on patient safety, saying handwashing is key for all facilities, including in primary healthcare.
“Implementing hygiene standards in health centres will bring down disease transmission. I would like to assure you that the whole of WHO supports the foundation in this campaign and I commit myself as the WHO representative to support you. We must prioritise hygiene and I thank Mrs Saraki for her visit today.”
John Oldfield, a Principal at Global Water 2020 in his remarks said: “My colleagues and I are inspired and motivated by the Secretary General’s Call to Action for WASH in healthcare facilities, and by the initiative of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa. We have high hopes that Mrs. Saraki and her team at WBFA will be able to significantly accelerate progress in Nigeria and elsewhere, and midwives are perhaps the key to success.”
According to the foundation, WBFA will work with partners including Global Water 2020, an initiative based in Washington D.C. which is designed to accelerate progress toward water access and security for all people in developing countries, with a particular focus on increasing the availability of WASH in healthcare centres.
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