Nov. 1 (PREMIUM TIMES) – The FCT Primary Health Care Development Board on Thursday said that not less than 272 million school children worldwide have been absent from school for diarrhoea-related diseases.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Rilwanu Muhammed, disclosed this at a hand washing school sensitisation campaign. He said that the two children killer diseases across the world were pneumonia and diarrhoea.
Mr. Muhammed said that the two diseases accounted for 15 to 17 per cent of deaths of children in the African region.
“It is a well known fact that each year over 3.5 million children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday globally.
“In Nigeria, over 10 per cent of our children from age five to 10, carry germs capable of causing diarrhoea and cholera in their hands, with over 400,000 children dying from diarrhoea and pneumonia annually. ’’
Mr. Muhammed said that proper hand washing with soap or ashes and water could help prevent diarrhoea, pneumonia and other communicable diseases.
He said that children were more vulnerable to diseases caused by lack of effective sanitation and poor hygiene; hence the need to inculcate the habit of regular hand washing.
Mr. Muhammed advised that people should wash their hands properly after using the toilet, before and after cooking or eating, after play and after changing children’s diapers.
Also speaking, the Director, FCT Universal Basic Education Board, Adamu Noma, said that proper personal hygiene is important in teaching school children.
Mr. Noma advised school administrators to take hygiene seriously, so as to have children come to school.
“Often times, in the course of our daily activities, we come in contact with germs that we cannot see with our eyes.
“Unknown to us even as adults, we use the same infected hands to eat, this unfortunately exposes us to various diseases that ordinarily we would have avoided through hand wash,’’ he said.
Mr. Noma advised that good habits of personal hygiene should be a continuous exercise, where children were taught cleanliness.