Sightsavers Nigeria has urged stakeholders in the Nigerian health sector, particularly the government and professional bodies, to rise to the challenge of preventing eye infections through the simple hygienic practice of handwashing.
Sightsavers made the call in a press release issued by Joy Tabor, Sightsavers communications associate for Nigeria, to commemorate the Global Handwashing Day 2023, with the theme: “Clean Hands are within reach”.
The press release reads in part: “Clean hands and faces play a crucial role in preventing trachoma, a contagious eye infection that can lead to blindness if left untreated. Trachoma is primarily spread through contact with contaminated hands and faces, as well as by flies that transfer the bacteria responsible for the disease.
“Regularly washing hands and face with clean water and soap helps remove the bacteria and reduce the risk of transmission. By maintaining good hygiene practices, individuals can significantly contribute to the prevention of trachoma and protect their vision, especially in regions where the disease is endemic.:
Elaborating on the issue, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, country director of Sightsavers said: “Promoting good hand hygiene is an essential component of our mission to eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD).
“Sightsavers will continue to support collaboration of the Federal Ministry of Health and its Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) partners through its Face cleanliness and Environmental sustainability approach of the “SAFE” strategy to support behavioural change across states. On this Global Handwashing Day, we emphasize the importance of clean hands in reducing the transmission of diseases.”
Further enlightening the public, the organization noted that without clean water and soap, it is difficult to implement simple and effective public health actions that can prevent and manage debilitating Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Dr Teyil Wamyil-Mshelia, Country Coordinator, (Trachoma) at Sightsavers, said: “Through strengthening collaboration between Neglected Tropical Diseases and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), especially at the local government level, we will begin to see more prioritized engagements and behavioural change. This should improve hand and face washing, and other hygiene practices – thereby reducing the impact of trachoma and other NTDs”.
Sightsavers Nigeria reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that no one, regardless of abilities or socio economic status, is left behind in access to good hygiene practices. The organization reiterates that clean hands and faces are fundamental to preventing eye infections and blindness, particularly in communities with limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities.