By Prince Charles Ekanem
The Wife of the Governor of Cross River State and Founder, Mediatrix Development Foundation MDF, Dr. Linda Ayade, joined the rest of the world on the 7th October, 2017 to mark the Global Hand Washing Day.
Mrs. Ayade hosted relevant stakeholders in the health sector working in the state to a breakfast meeting in Calabar where she reiterated that regular washing of hands will help to minimize avoidable mortalities.
She said one of the primary purpose of the breakfast was to prompt the stakeholders to continue to support and encourage hand washing which remains the single most effective way of preventing killer diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, that claim over 300,000 Nigerian children, under five, annually.
The Wife of the Governor further disclosed that, her foundation, MDF has been working with the Cross River State Water Board Limited, to ensure the availability of tap water in schools within Calabar, under the ‘clean hands’ campaign.
She expressed optimism that this will enable children cultivate the habit of washing their hands always.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong, said the campaign is very special to the State as this will also prevent the deadly disease Monkey Pox.
She called on all stakeholders to join hands with Mrs. Ayade and the State health sector to sensitize the public on hand washing across the State.
The Director General of the state Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Betta Edu, who also spoke at the occasion, described the meeting as “another celebration of what is stronger than any vaccines and a wonderful way of saving life with little or no cost.”
According to her, over a million children in the entire globe have been lost to diseases which could be prevented by just hand washing.
She emphasized that hand washing is very vital to our communities especially with the recent outbreak of the Monkey Pox virus.
The Country Director of United Purpose , Tim Connel, in his address said it is a collective responsibility to improve water sanitation.
He enjoined the Cross River State Government to support the RUSHIN program.
He said the theme for the 2017 World Hand Washing Day “Our Hands, Our Future”, reminds us that washing hands protects our own health and the future of our unborn generation which we aim to provide effective and secure healthcare.
He disclosed that in the past one week, his team has been holding hand washing sensitization events across six LGAs in Cross River State to improve sanitation and water hygiene in schools.
The Managing Director of Cross River State Water Board Limited, Mr. Godwin Igile, added that hand washing will save more lives if we practice it effectively.
He noted that some selected schools have been provided portable water in collaboration with MDF to improve hand washing in schools.
Also speaking at the meeting, the Global Hand Washing Ambassador, Sunny Neji , said hand washing is a habit that Cross Riverians need to adopt because it is the cheapest way of avoiding some diseases like typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, monkey pox among others.
The break fast ended with a hand washing demonstration by Mrs. Ayade and all the Global Hand Washing Partners and Ambassadors including the Executive Director of MDF, Mr. Jeffrey Adamade.