HomeEnvironment & ClimateEmbracing WASH Principles Will Mitigate Diseases, Says Nigerian Govt

Embracing WASH Principles Will Mitigate Diseases, Says Nigerian Govt

Abuja, Nigeria – The Nigerian Minister for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has said that the adoption of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) is the backbone of disease prevention.

He said this at the inauguration of the National Guidelines for WASH in Healthcare Facilities in Nigeria on Thursday, August 18, 2022, in Abuja.

The minister also said that poor practice of WASH could cause illnesses.

According to him, water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and bacterial infections are responsible for about 60 per cent of diseases in children under five years.

Dr. Ehanire said, “So, WASH is an important aspect of disease prevention. The Ministry of Health is not only in the business of treating sick people, but we are in the business of preventing people from getting sick.

“This is because the more people you prevent from getting sick, the less work you have and the less expensive it is to treat them.”

The minister also said that medical tourism would reduce if the nation’s hospitals, whether Primary Healthcare Centre (PHCs) or tertiary health institutions, observed basic WASH principles.

He said, “Patients come in to see the doctor but once they see the sanitation and hygiene situation, they turn back, and we wonder why people are going for medical tourism.

“Most of the time it is not because of lack of trained doctors, we have very well-trained doctors here, but simple things like housekeeping turn them off.”

Dr. Ehanire, however, added that the inauguration of the guidelines for healthcare institutions would help to address the situation.

The Director of the Food and Drug Services Department, Mrs. Olubunmi Aribeana, said one of the objectives of the guidelines is to strengthen the provision of WASH services in healthcare facilities in Nigeria.

According to her, it will support and guarantee adequate healthcare service delivery, in realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6) – Access to Clean Water and Sanitation and (SDG 3) – Good Health and Wellbeing.

The director said that the implementation of the guidelines in healthcare facilities and in homes would bring changes in the traditional practice of WASH as Nigeria strives toward achieving global best practices.

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