Health, Town News|

Global Hand washing day is recognised annually to motivate and mobilise people around the world to improve their Hand washing habits. The day creates awareness and understanding about the importance of Hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian physician and scientist known as the “Saviour of Mothers,” is said to be the initiator of hand washing and antiseptic procedures. In 1846 at a Vienna General Hospital, he noticed that women giving birth in the medical student/doctor maternity ward in his hospital were much more likely to develop fever and die compared to the women giving birth in the adjacent midwife maternity ward. He scutinised the situation and sort for the differences between the two wards and it was discovered that doctors and medical students often visited the maternity ward directly after performing an autopsy. Semmelweis consequently imposed a new rule of mandatory hand washing with chlorine for doctors and the rate of death in his maternity ward reduced.

That was the first proof of the need for regular hand washing with soap to prevent the spread of germs through the fingers; which could cause food poisoning, flu diarrhea and other infectious diseases. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), observed that about 1•8 million children under the age of 5 die from diarrhea disease each year and it is the top two killers of young children around the world. Hand washing therefore has become a necessary global practice, to boost healthy living.

As the world celebrates hand washing day with the theme “OUR FUTURE IS AT HAND-LET’S MOVE FORWARD TOGETHER,” it should be a reminder that the age long adage “prevention is better than cure” is optimal, especially in this era of COVID-19. Avoid touching dirty surfaces, doorknobs, rails, and objects; better still, wash your hands when you do.

This explains why the Bayelsa State Government supports strict compliance with the COVID-19 protocols, to avoid the virus. Thus, Hand washing facilities like hand washing sinks, Veronica buckets, liquid soaps, sanitisers and face masks were distributed to various schools and offices across the State.

While regular hand washing can also prevent the spread of diseases like hepatitis A, chicken pox, Ebola, bird flu, the Pawleys Island Compounding Pharmacy proffers top ten reasons for regular hand washing to avoid germs:

*After going to the bathroom

*Before you eat*Before and after preparing food*After handling money

*After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose*After touching animals*After coming into contact with sick people

*Before and after a gathering and shaking hands

*Wash after being in any public place such as park, school, library, market, shops, subway, car, etc

*If you get a cut on your hand, disinfect and bandage the area immediately.

Happy Hand Washing Day and always keep your hands clean.

Oguara Nengiyefa

Bayelsa Ministry of Information, Orientation and Strategy

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