By Tayo Taiwo, Abuja
As part of the effort of the federal government to curb the spread of the global threat of COVID-19, the Ministry of Water Resources has inaugurated the engagement of 100 Youth Volunteers from each of the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country to serve as ambassadors of the Water Sanitation and hygiene awareness while also advocating open defecation free in the country.
Minister of the Ministry, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said the Youths Volunteers are expected to create awareness and sanitization within the households, community and all institutional levels to pass across messages through washing of hands with soaps.
Adamu stated this in Abuja during a flag-off ceremony of the National Youth Volunteer programme on Handwashing and Clean Nigeria Campaign for Covid-19 prevention.
He affirmed that the programme is an initiative of the federal government which also seek to rebuild the economy and stimulate job creations.
According to him, he opined that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about severe socio-economic consequences, noting the great impact in Nigeria, especially the youths who are unable to find gainful employment.
The Youth Volunteers under the programme will therefore be trained on communication and demonstrating good sanitation and hygiene practices that can help to contain the spread of the corona virus and curtail the practice of open defecation in the country.
Adamu added that access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services cannot be overemphasized to prevent diseases and in the case of Covid-19.
“Regular handwashing with soap under running water for 20 seconds is one of the non-pharmaceutical measures for the prevention of the coronavirus disease. Hand washing with soap is considered as an affordable, accessible “do-it-yourself” vaccine and reduces the outbreak and incidence of many communicable diseases” He said.
The minister noted that regular handwashing with soap according to a recent study can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36%.
Adamu hereby enjoined that collaboration of all stakeholders, states and individual levels with federal government is the only way to achieve the basic WASH of everyone and to meet the attendant health benefit for all.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, one of the youth volunteers, comrade Zakari Ibrahim from Abaji Area Council in Abuja, expressed appreciation to the government for the opportunity to be one of the participants of the exercise, he charged that the awareness and sensitization begins within the household, community and the state at large so as to know the importance and benefits of handwashing with soaps and especially staying safe during this trying period of the pandemic. He expressed optimism that the purpose of the programme would be greatly achieved if Nigerians can adhere.
Highlight of the event was the unveiling of the work tools to youth volunteers, presentation of waste bins donated by Holborn Nigeria Limited to the ministry, and demonstration of proper handwashing by the permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Didi Walson-Jack, using a contact-less machine.