The Country Director of Water Aid Nigeria Dr. Evelyn Mere says 167 million Nigerians lacks access to handwashing facilities with soap noting that 55% of Health facilities have basic water supply services and that 17% of hospitals do not have any water source at all.
Dr. Mere gave this statistics on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the Hygiene for Health Campaign and also to commemorate the 2021 Global Handwashing Day with the theme; Our Future is our Hand Let’s Move Forward Together.
Giving further statistics of the availability of basic and essential amenities in our Health care centers she said 1 in 3 healthcare facilities have hand washing stations with soap in point of care and that only 1 in 4 have hand hygiene stations with soap and water in toilets.
She said 1 in 10 health facilities have access to handwashing facilities or basic sanitation services and that 1 in 4 healthcare facilities do not have toilet/latrines on premises.
Dr. Mere went on to say that only 15% of Health facilities have improved toilets, which she says are separated for females and allow for menstrual hygiene management.
She said 1 in 5 Health facilities have improved toilets which are accessible to those with limited mobility and that only 28% of Health facilities with Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) facilities kept a dedicated budget for cleaning and maintaining their WASH facilities.
The Country Director said handwashing is critical to infection prevention and control and that it is also a key to pandemic preparedness.
She said the absence of lack of adequate WASH services in healthcare facilities can compromise patients safety, exacerbate infection spread, increase risks of hospital acquired infections affecting staff, caregivers and vulnerable patients, higher care cost for patients as well as undermine efforts to improve child and maternal health.
She said policies and frameworks must be backed by action for change to occur noting that these are some of the changes that the campaign hopes to achieve to ensure that we build back and can face future pandemics with greater courage.
Dr. Mere said Wateraid is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to host multistakeholder Workshop on Infection Prevention and Control for Pandemic Preparedness in Nigeria.
She called for the support and collaboration of stakeholders, Ministers of Water Resources, Education, Health, Environment and relevant departments and agencies and the private sector to prioritize WASH through improved coordination, financing, development and implementation of sustainable programmes targeted at improving water sanitation and hygiene access for all.