14th October, 2011
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, has stressed the importance of properly washing hand in order to avoid diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections that cause kill more than 3.5 million under-five children globally every year.
Idris who spoke in Lagos yesterday on the occasion of World Hand Washing Day, noted that the call became imperative, following recent studies which indicates that deaths due to diarrhoea could be halved and deaths due to acute respiratory infections reduced by a quarter if hand washing was widely practised thereby contributing to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
â€œUsing soap to wash hands adds to the time spent washing, breaks down the grease and dirt that carry most germs by facilitating the rubbing and friction that dislodge them and leaves the hands smelling pleasant.
â€œWith proper use, all soaps are equally effective at rinsing away the germs that cause disease. It is also important that hand washing with soap is practised, especially after using the toilet, cleaning babies and before handling food,â€ he said.
He noted that hand washing is a preventive method which does not require much time, money, or effort, yet it is the single most effective measure in breaking the disease transmission chain.
â€œThe hands often act as means of carrying disease-causing germs from person to person, either through direct contact or indirectly via surfaces. Unwashed hands which have been in contact with human or animal faeces, bodily fluids like nasal excretions and contaminated foods or water, can transport bacteria, viruses and parasites to new persons,â€ Idris added.
He pointed out that hand washing should concern everybody since everyone is potentially at risk of contracting hand transmitted illnesses while pregnant women, children, old people, and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable.
According to Idris, good hand washing techniques involve applying enough soap to cover all hand surfaces; rubbing the hands palm to palm; rubbing the right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers; rubbing of palm with fingers interlaced; rubbing of backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlaced, among others.