How Wassa IDP camp marked the Global Hand washing day?


—How Wassa IDP camp marked the Global Hand washing day?

Rmtimesng—13 year old Umeira Yakubu, A resident of Wassa Internally displaced camp, Abuja could not hide her joy at the practical demonstration of how to use the Tippy Tap system of handwashing.

Umeira who has been living in the camp for four years, was elated when they were being taught on how to use the low cost method of handwashing with soap .

This demonstration is part of the celebration to mark the Global handwashing day celebration, in Abuja.

In her words, “sometimes we do not have water in the camp when there is no generator to pump the borehole. With this new method , we will be able to wash our hand with water and soap”

“We hailed from Bornu state, but the insurgent activities made us to relocate with my parent to Abuja.

My father is into Okada riding, while my mother engage in small farming. I have six sisters and three brothers .Its not been easy living here in this community”

Another resident of the camp, Maryam Bitrus expressed joy at the end of the practical demonstration of the Tippy tap method of handwashing.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity being given today , and we will continue to make use of it , from time to time. We normally utilize the stream water whenever we do not have fuel to power the generator ”

As part of celebration to mark the Global Handwashing day, the National Task group on Sanitation went on a sensitization exercise to different Internally displaced camp in Abuja.

The Chief Scientific Officer, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Chizoma Opara, stressed the need for Nigerians to wash their hands with water and soap, as it helps in reducing the spread of diseases.

She disclosed that handwashing with soap is an important hygienic practice that keeps the food safe from consumption, and also prevent food related diseases.

In addition, she urged Nigerians not to practice open defeacation. Most individuals do not wash their hands after defeating. This is very harmful to health.

She further demonstrated the low cost method of producing the Tippy Tap, which the residents can use even when the water available is minimal .

“Carefully dig two holes, then place two sides of the stick apart. Then perforate two empty bottles , through which the water and. Soap will come out. It can be tied with a rope. Then a wood which will also serve as a pedal is used to drop the water”

While at the Wassa IDP camp, the Chief of Wassa, Mr John Akuchi charged all the residents of the community to always wash their hand at critical times.

“It is necessary to wash the hands with soap and. water before cooking, eating, and feeding.

I believe that the practical demonstration on basic hygiene skills will change the way and manner in which we have been doing things in the past.

We want the government to make water available for the residents .We don’t have borehole and electricity ”

The Chairman of the Wassa IDP camp, Mr Geoffrey Bitrus called on the government and well meaning Nigerians to come to their aid, by providing portable water for the resident of Wassa community.

Initially we had five bore holes , but at the moment, only two is working. We resolved to using stream water , when there is no water in the tank .

He urged organisations and individuals to support the resident of the community, as the clinic do not have enough drugs and equipment to use, when the residents are in emergency situation.

In the same vein , he said when the mothers are delivering their babies , they often face rejection from government hospitals.

“Once the health officials get wind of the fact that we are living in internally displaced camps, they feel reluctant to treat us , as they assume that we do not have money”

The Executive Director of Developing Communities for Sustainability Organization , DECOMS, Mrs Nnenna Didigu, emphasized on the need to maintain a high level of hygiene at all times.

She disclosed that in Nigeria, only a few percentage of the citizen have access to basic handwashing services.

“We are urging the resident to always use the Tippy tap method to wash their hands with soap and water. We are shedding light on the need for handwashing in preventing disease”

Water Aid Nigeria on the occasion of the Global handwashing day is calling on policy makers to prioritise nutrition sensitive interventions , as well as provision of Water Sanitation and Hygiene facilities in healthcare facilities and schools.

“We want government to make access to hygiene a top priority. We want proper planning , financing , and maintaining of health systems”

Every 15th October is commemorated globally to illustrate the importance of handwashing with soap and water. This year’s theme, “Clean hands- a recipe for health “highlights the need for handwashing at critical times.

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