Disease Control: IbomWASH+ Cluster Preaches Proper Handwashing Practices In Akwa Ibom

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo

Towards ensuring a healthy living through proper hands washing practices, IbomWASH+ Cluster, a non-governmental organisation based in Akwa Ibom State, has carried out a sensitisation/awareness programme on the people of the state. 
The exercise, was part of the event marking this year’s Global Handwashing Day Celebration with the theme, “Unite For Universal Hands Hygiene.”
In Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, the organisation took the campaign to major Market and Motor Park at Itam, on Sunday, where they gave out key messages and steps to proper handwashing.
Speaking during the exercise, the Project Director of IbomWASH+ Cluster, Prof. Gabriel Umoh said that proper hands washing would help to kill the cycling of diseases spread such as outbreak of dysentery and typhoid among inhabitants.
Key messages to ensure proper handwashing practices highlighted by Prof Umoh include: Wash your hands with soap especially before eating, cooking or feeding; Make handwashing part of your habits. 
Wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; Wash your hands after using the toilet and Wash your hands working in the farm or garden as well as Wash your hands after having contact with animals and Wash your hands when return from school, church, mosque, market or public places among others.
On the aspects of proper steps, he highlighted seven steps including: “Wet your hands with clean preferable running water; Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of your hands and wrist; Lather and rub your hands together briskly and thoroughly.
“Make sure to scrub all surfaces of your hands, fingertips, fingernails and wrists; Scrub your hands and wrist for at least 20 seconds; Rinse your hands and wrist under clean preferable running water; Dry your hands and wrist with clean towel, or let them air dry, then Use towel to turn off the faucet.” 
Speaking also on the significance of the exercise, Akwa Ibom State Coordinator of Network of Civil Society for Water and Sanitation in Nigeria (NEWSAN), Mr. Edidiong Sambo said that the recent outbreak of COVID-19 placed serious need for effective handwashing practices in the country and indeed globally.
“This year is a continuous sensitisation to create consciousness of people on proper handwashing practices to ensure a healthy living and reduce cost of medical expenses.” He said.
On his part also, Head of Planning, Research and Statistics in the State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Timothy Ekong said that the activities of IbomWASH+ Cluster in the state ha assisted various MDAs in Akwa Ibom in the area of proper handwashing and roadmap to better implementation of WASH Global Policy.
In his appreciation on behalf of members, the chairman of Transport Owners Association Lagos Park Itam, Mr. Emmanuel Austin Okon represented by Mr. Sunday Akpan thanked the IbomWASH+ Cluster for its initiative to create more consciousness on the people on the need for proper handwashing hygiene in the State.
IbomWASH+ Cluster, is a consortium of six Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with African Human Development Centre (AHDC) as the anchor. Members include: Society for Water and Sanitation in Nigeria (NEWSAN), Community Partners for Development, Akwa Mfon Sustainable Development Association, Garden Initiative and Better Future Initiative as members.
The cluster is supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Palladium under Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project in Akwa Ibom State.
IbomWASH+ Cluster is a consortium of 6 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with African Human Development Centre (AHDC) as the anchor. Members include: Society for Water and Sanitation in Nigeria (NEWSAN), Community Partners for Development, Akwa Mfon Sustainable Development Association, Garden Initiative and Better Future Initiative as members.
The cluster is supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Palladium under Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) project in Akwa Ibom State.
IbomWASH+ cluster is funded to advocate for approval and institutionalization of relevant Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy and frameworks expected to accelerate the attainment of Open Defecation Free (ODF) and improve access to portable water in the state by all.
Earlier, IbomWASH+ a cluster had had a Media Roundtable on the 27th of October, 2022 to foster a multi-stakeholder collaboration towards achieving the overall project goal.
Mobilize media practitioners to carry IbomWASH+ key advocacy messages in all media reportage, work with the media to sensitize households and stakeholders on the need for Akwa Ibom State to have an inclusive WASH Policy, WASH M&E Framework and Open Defecation Free Road map.
The roundtable was attended by 34 PERSONS (13 females and 21 males) drawn from the Ministries of Land and Water Resources, Environment, Information, AK-RUWATSAN, AKWCL, and 16 pressmen representing 15 media houses in the State.

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