By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA: Minister of State in the Federal Capital Territory FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has advocated increased personal hygiene among residents, urging them to particularly develop the culture of regular hand washing, as a way of combating the spread of COVID-19.
Aliyu, who gave the advise at a Community Sensitisation rally to mark the 2020 World Water Day, also stressed that hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of several diseases including the Coronavirus.
Represented at the rally by the General Manager of the FCT Water Board, Engr. Aliyu Ahmad Nahuce, the minister explained that the essence of the campaign was to raise awareness and educate communities on the dangers of the coronavirus, the devastating effects of open defecation and the need for constant hand washing in order to check the spread of epidemics.
Speaking on the theme for this year’s World Water day, “Water and Climate Change” Aliyu, described the theme as apt, as it shows that adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and safe lives.
She said; “The theme is apt at this moment of prevalent global issues and challenges ranging from climate change effect to infectious diseases such as COVID-19.”
She, however, regretted that most developing countries, including Nigeria, still practice indiscriminate dumping of plastic wastes and open defecation leading to the pollution of water sources.
This, she added, has had negative effects on human health and environment, including increase in the operating cost of water treatment plants as experienced by the FCT Water Board.
“Many factors identified as barriers to sound environmental practices include lack of awareness, and weak law enforcement. This initiative to embark on community sensitization cannot therefore be coming at a better time than now that all hands must be on deck to keep disease burden down and put the nation on the path to sustainable development,” she noted.
The minister therefore assured that the FCT under the leadership of Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, is committed to addressing open defecation in line with Mr. President’s declaration of state of emergency on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Nigeria.
Earlier, Executive Director of Number Two Initiative for a Healthy Environment, Fati Eryaye Abubakar, said the rally is a grassroots intervention to create awareness on the importance of hand washing especially at a time when the global community is dealing with the scourge of coronavirus.
The rally which took place at Aleita community in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), was organised by the Number Two Initiative for a Healthy Environment in partnership with Safety Awareness and Environmental Support Initiative and Grassroots Mobilizers for Buhari and Osinbajo.