Hand washing is part of the core deliverable in primary healthcare, especially during Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW) held twice annually in Anambra.
Executive Secretary, Anambra State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (ASPHCDA), Dr Chioma Ezenyimulu said this during a courtesy visit by a team of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) at ASPHCDA office complex, Awka.
She noted that hand washing had always been a practice in every health facility; the state had hand washing equipment that were more pronounced since the inception of COVID-19 pandemic.
“The state has intensified hand washing as it is one of the preventive measures against the COVID-19 infection and there is always a supply of soap and water for that purpose.
“We have imbibed hand washing culture in our facilities and by extension to communities that use our facilities,” Dr Ezenyimulu explained.
She emphasised that it was part of MNCHW activities that includes; Immunisation, deworming, family planning, HIV Counseling and testing, breastfeeding, antenatal care and hand washing.
“We want to have more sensitisation on hand washing alone; we have been doing it as part of the concept of containing the COVID-19 pandemic; we want to be able to handle it at a deeper level.’’
The ES observed that by hand washing people had been able to prevent lots of diseases that bring them to hospitals, especially diarrhoea.
She, then, requested for provision of boreholes in primary health centres to aid hygiene and hand washing practices at that level.
The Head, Community Health Services, ASPHCDA, Dr Frank Umeh noted that the essence of hand washing was not just for the facilities alone.
“It should rub off on the communities, so there is need to do more on this as there is a gap to fill,’’ he explained.
A representative of UNICEF, Mr Ayodeji Akintunde stressed that UNICEF was saddled with the responsibility of taking care of children’s health and hygiene in particular.
“The purpose of our visit here is that UNICEF wants to know the overview and what the state primary healthcare is doing to promote hand hygiene in Primary Health Centres (PHCs).’’
According to him, UNICEF is key in making hand washing compulsory and that everybody is aware.
“The essence of hand washing is not only to prevent the COVID-19 infection, it is aimed at preventing germs, especially from children who happen to always touch things.
“Even if the COVID-19 pandemic is eradicated, we still want to maintain the hand washing hygiene habit.
“That is why we want to know what you are doing presently, what the challenges and constraints are and how UNICEF can be of assistance in these areas,” he explained. The Programme Manager, Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), Mr Emeka Okwuogu promised to look into requests for the provision of boreholes as it was within the mandate of the Agency.