By Ifeanyi Nwoko
In a bid to curb the transmission of preventable diseases, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa is to partner the World Health Organisation (WHO) to take hand washing campaigns across Nigeria and Africa.
Mrs Toyin Saraki, Founder-President of the Foundation disclosed this when she led a team on a courtesy visit the Abuja office of the WHO mission in Nigeria.
Saraki, the Devex Global Health Champion, was received by Dr Wondi Alemu, WHO’s 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 of May is also ‘International Day of the Midwife,’ with the theme this year being ‘Midwives leading the way with quality care.’
Speaking at the event, she said that her foundation had recognized that many diseases could be prevented if people take to hand washing.
She insisted that the amount of time and resources spent on curing diseases could rather be used for advocacy for hand washing so that the diseases are prevented before they occur.
She disclosed that her foundation is gong to commission a team of young hand washing advocates that will take the campaign to schools across Nigeria.
“We will be inaugurating a team of young Nigerians as hand washing advocates so that they can go to schools to sensitise many on the importance of hand washing.
“Our midwives will also take the same campaign to hospitals and primary health centres to educate mother on the importance of hand washing.
“In the next one year we can measure the impact of the campaign. Washing your hand with clean water prevents diseases.
“Here in Nigeria, the WHO found that 29 per cent of healthcare facilities do not have access to safe water and toilets, whilst a WaterAid survey revealed that half of primary health facilities do not have hand washing facilities in delivery rooms.
“Pregnant women and newborns are thereby placed in huge danger and at risk of sepsis, which is a leading cause of death in hospitals.
“As the Founder-President of the WBFA, I work with our midwives to ensure that mother and baby are safe from birth through to age.
“Without adequate WASH facilities, however, midwives all over the world are unable to safely carry out their crucial work – and to lead the way with quality care.”
“Our target is for the 198 million Nigerians to be saying ‘wash’,” she said.
Is his remark, the WHO Country Representative, Wondi Alemu said that the WHO was really impressed by the many interventions by the Wellbeing Foundation.
He said that the activities if the foundation going beyond just health care and hygiene to general wellbeing, adding that he is particularly impressed by the foundation.
He commended the foundation for the new campaign, saying that with good strategies, the impact of hand washing could be tremendous.
“This is a very impressive foundation, I am impressed the way you have expressed it and also eager to implement it.
“The choice of the target is good and we believe that if we manage to reduce the infection transmission, we will definitely bring down the way infections are acquired.
“I will like to assure you that WHO, not only the country office but the whole WHO is supporting this mission.
“Personally I have interacted with Director of WHO whom you are one of her advisers, and I can assure you that the WHO will be supporting your foundation.
“We have all reasons to back you up, personally I commit myself to this foundation to make sure that I and my colleagues support you in the areas where you want us to engage,” he said.