The Borno state ministry of water resources and the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF on Monday jointly launched hand washing points for children displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency, within schools.
The initiative is part moves to curb the cases of cholera that have so claimed the lives of 59 children in camps for displaced persons.
At an occasion staged to mark the 2017 Global Hand Washing Day celebration, which was held in one of the IDP camps in Maiduguri, UNICEF’s Field Officer for Borno state, Geoffery Ijumba said the initiative was aimed at preventing the outbreak of the disease especially amongst the children.
He said washing of hands with water and soap “has saved many people from contracting water borne diseases.”
He said the 59 lives lost as a result of the disease could have been prevented.
Mr. Ijumba said washing of hands must be done with soap and water hence UNICEF’s action of creating such washing points.
“The combination of water and soap to wash hands has saved many lives of people living in rural and urban centres of Borno state.
“You go out there to find hand pumps. Where the pumps are not working properly, we have provided solar-powered pumps. When these pumps are not working properly, we have motorized them with electric powered-pumps.”
He said this was to make sure that there is water to wash hands on a continual basis.
The Borno State commissioner of water resources, Zainab Gimba, said the Borno state government is making efforts to ensure the availability of water in all the IDP camps through the drilling of boreholes.
“There is no way we could be talking of hand washing if there are no water sources in the camps”, she said.
She said the daily pumping of about 47 million litres of water from the town’s main dam has played a great role in reducing cholera, diarrhoea and pneumonia.
“Effective and lifesaving mechanism like regular hand washing is rarely practised; and (this) must be encouraged in homes, schools, hospitals, markets and
public gatherings, where people eat during festivities and marriage and naming ceremonies.”
She said the state government now is targeting ”70 per cent of houses and 100 per cent of schools with hygiene sanitation facilities by the 2025.”
The highpoint of the event was the official launching of the hand washing points by the Secretary to the Borno state government, Usman Jidda Shuwa, who represented the state governor, Kashim Shettima.
About 3000 cases of cholera were recently recorded in the IDP camps while 59 persons, mostly children, died of the disease.