By Stanley Onyekwere
In furtherance to efforts at promoting hygiene among students and teachers of public schools, a non governmental organisation based in Abuja has staged a public enlightenment programme on proper personal hygiene in Government Secondary School, Buzun Kure in Kuje Area Council of the FCT.
According to the organisers of the programme, Helpline Foundation for the Needy in collaboration with FCT Universal Basic Education Board, said the event was part of activities to mark Global Hand Wash, as over 50 students were drilled on the basic techniques of hand washing.
The NGO, said the project tagged: “Our Hands, Our Future” was aimed to promote hygiene among students and teaching staff at every stage of life to ensure healthy living for all.
Programmes Director of Helpline Foundation, Ms. Jane Williams, explained that the programme is the second edition in the series of projects the Foundation initiated to sensitize teachers and students on personal hygiene and environmental diseases.
Williams, noted that every year, 1.4 million children die from diarrhea or pneumonia, infections cause 15 percent of newborn deaths, noting that hand washing with soap is an effective way to prevent these losses.
According to her, “Regular hand washing can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by nearly half and respiratory infections by approximately 25 percent.
“Good hygiene is necessary for good nutrition, particularly for children, and to prevent the spread of common diseases like colds, flu and other communicable diseases.”
She tasked teachers especially at the primary school level to always teach pupils of basic techniques on personal hygiene and other environmental diseases, while calling on relevant authorities to provide basic amenities in public schools across the FCT.
Similarly, Senior Programme Office of Helpline Foundation, Ms. Omozele Ojeme, noted that unhealthy environmental condition increases the risk of both non-communicable and infectious diseases, which is reflected in the strong integrated nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Earlier, the Director of FCT Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Adamu Noma, commended the NGO for staging the global hand washing awareness campaign among students and teachers of FCT schools.
He assured that the FCT Administration will continue to provide basic amenities in public to promote healthy environment.
Noma disclosed that the Administration has provided portable water in almost all the public across the six FCT Area Councils, while urging other non governmental organisations to join hands with government to promote healthy living among school children.
Not left out, Headmaster of LEA Primary School Buzun Kure, Mr. Audu Alhassan, also appreciated Helpline Foundation for identifying the remote school to carry out the awareness campaign on basic hygiene.
He however appealed for the provision of suitable toilet facilities such as the water cistern as some students still practice open defecation.
Other demands made by the Headmaster include provision of Waste Cans and baskets in schools for proper disposal of wastes and provision of more hygiene guide textbooks to enable the teachers and pupils teach and learn proper hygiene effectively.
It could be recalled that on October 15th, hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrates Global Hand Washing Day. Global Hand Washing Day was founded by the Global Hand Washing Partnership, an international coalition of organizations working to promote handwashing with soap.
Global Hand Washing Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of hand washing and encourage action to promote and sustain hand washing habits.