Infrastructural Change Will Promote Handwashing Practices – UNICEF

Mamita Bora Thakkar

By Folashade Adebayo

The United Nations Children’s Fund in Borno has made a case for greater investment in handwashing facilities as a means of promoting good hygiene. According to the organisation, sensitisation programmes in markets, IDP camps, and communities can only succeed if the handwashing materials are available and accessible.

The UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Manager in Maiduguri, Mamita Bora Thakkar said this on Friday during a programme organised by the Borno State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency in Maiduguri.

Noting that handwashing practice requires sustained efforts to lead to behavioural change, Thakkar added that the visibility and accessibility of handwashing materials could be an added impetus to achieve behavioral change.

Mass campaign and behaviour change promotion will require huge numbers of people and human resources who are trained in the essential skills and approaches for social mobilization and behaviour change communication.

But the success of any handwashing initiative will require investments to ensure access to the supplies and services required to practice hand hygiene. It will also require leadership at all levels – at home, in communities, in schools, in health care facilities nationally and globally – to create a culture where keeping our hands clean is a social norm and everyone’s habit.

Also speaking at the programme, the General Manager, Borno State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Engineer Muhammed Musa Aliyu, said regular handwashing contributes to improved wellbeing, dignity, educational fulfillment, and productivity.

Aliyu added that achieving universal hand health requires the support of all stakeholders.

“Hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and other water-borne diseases. It’s not the role of one individual or one institution. We need investments from donors, private sectors while the government comes up with the right policies to support behaviour change campaigns to trigger the adoption and sustenance of handwashing practices. The provision of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential to protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 disease,’’ he said.

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