Global Handwashing Day: Nigerians Need A Change In Habit
On October 15, 2018, millions of people including children in over 100 countries around the world will celebrate Global Handwashing Day. School children will come together to wash their hands and spread the word about how handwashing with soap before eating, after using toilets, and after playing in public places is a cheap and effective way to prevent communicable diseases.
Several studies have found that when children regularly wash their hands with effective antibacterial soap such as Dettol, the rate at which diarrhoea spreads is cut by more than half. In the same vein, deaths resulting from acute respiratory infections are cut drastically through effective handwashing practices.
Ever since the inception of Global Handwashing Day about a decade ago, communities, national leaders worldwide and global brands like Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Dettol have used October 15, every year to raise awareness and reinforce the call for improved hygiene practices.
Dettol has also been leading the charge of educating people around the world including Nigerians on the risks of disease-bearing germs and the benefits of handwashing, especially with the younger generation. This is critical, as research has shown that children suffer disproportionately from diseases which can be prevented with proper sanitation and hygiene.
No doubt, handwashing is a major step to achieving healthy living and good hygiene amongst children and the broader family. It is a very important and effective ‘partner’ to vaccination and medical interventions in the control of infectious diseases, especially in communities where access to basic amenities and infrastructure are lacking.
In Nigeria, Dettol has been a champion for good health and hygiene for over 50 years, and according to the General Manager, RB West Africa, Mr. Dayanand Sriram, the company believes that it is important for societies to inculcate good hygiene and sanitation habits such as proper handwashing at an early age.
“A simple act of washing hands with soap can prevent illnesses and arrest diarrhoea related deaths. This is why Dettol is continuing with the tradition of driving habit change, and provision of needed infrastructure,” he added.
Over the past 7 years, Dettol has provided several handwashing sites and educated over 7 million children, parents and teachers about the importance of handwashing through the School Hygiene Program, which is a mass education initiative about proper handwashing and hygiene habits.