BY PATIENCE IVIE-IHEJIRIKA
As Nigerians joined millions of people around the world to mark Global Hand Hygiene Day, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has urged that hand washing should be a habit.
NCDC, in a statement on Wednesday, noted that regular hand washing saves lives while calling on policy makers to invest now to ensure hand hygiene for all.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the risk of care-associated infections in low and middle income countries, particularly in patients admitted to intensive care units and in neonates.
This is a major public health problem in Nigeria and has a significant impact on morbidity, mortality and quality of life.
World Hand Hygiene Day is marked on 5th of every May and the essence is to mobilise citizens around the
world on the campaign which was launched in 2009 – ‘SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands’, which aims toa aims to maintain the promotion, visibility and sustainability of hand hygiene in health care settings around the world.
NCDC DG, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said since 2019, the Centre, through the National Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) programme, has led the country’s efforts to make hand
hygiene day activities a major national event in order to raise the consciousness of Nigerians on these efforts, and their role in saving lives.
He said, this year, the global Hand Hygiene Day theme is “Achieving hand hygiene at the point of care”, and the slogan is “Seconds save lives – clean your hands!”
The national sub-theme for Nigeria this year is “One Nation, One Plan: Turn Nigeria Orange!”.
Ihekwuazu noted that the National sub-theme recognises the efforts that have been made since the launch of the ‘Orange Network’ in 2019 – a network of dedicated tertiary health facilities in the country supported by NCDC, through the ‘Orange Project’ to become centers of excellence in infection prevention and control.
NCDC recognises that the safety of health workers has to be at the forefront of Nigeria’s response strategy to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, he said.
In line with activities to mark 2021 World Hand Hygiene Day, the NCDC in
collaboration with the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Jabi organised a lecture on the importance of hand hygiene in health care settings.