(Tosin Kolade, NAN)
United Purpose, an international NGO, has donated 500 handwashing facilities to Primary Healthcare Centres in Benue and Cross River states, to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that United Purpose was implementing the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) programme in the two states, with the benefitting 41 Local Government Areas getting a 3-month supply of soap.
At the distribution of the items on Saturday in Abuja, the Programme Manager for RUSHPIN, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, said an assessment of healthcare facilities carried out by the organisation in rural parts of the two states showed that primary healthcare facilities were in dire need of hygiene facilities.
According to him, this was necessary to enable healthcare workers and hospital visitors conveniently practice frequent and proper handwashing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
He said that the products would help reduce the rate of healthcare worker infections and transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, as they were first responders to those in need of medical attention at the community level.
”Hand washing is not just about fighting coronavirus, today we urge the state governments to invest in more sustainable sanitation and hygiene infrastructure for health centres and schools across the state as this is essential for good health.
”These Healthcare centres to receive these facilities were identified through an assessment of health facilities carried out by the RUSHPIN Programme to determine the facilities in dire need of this intervention.
”Our frontline workers are the health care workers when there is a pandemic, a lot of workers will step behind, but our healthcare workers will be our front line of defence,” he said.
Chuktu said that its donor, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), was supporting to ensure that about 500 Primary health Care centres were equipped with handwashing stations.
The programme manager called for behavioural change through information dissemination as a first line of defence, adding that Nigerians ought to safeguard themselves with washing of hands at all times.
Dr Beta Edu, Commissioner for Health, Cross River State, said lauded the organisation for the donation towards encouraging hand washing practice.
According to her, for every disease that comes up, one of the cheapest, most effective ways to overcome it is to wash hands with soap.
”We will continue to emphasise this because we know the benefits associated with it and how it can save us from undue pressures and costs. We are grateful, as a state and a people that we have partners that can stand up to the occasion whenever the need arises.
“WSSCC has been very supportive of United Purpose and Cross River State and we cannot thank them enough for the progress we have made as a state in the WASH programme,” she said.
Mr Ishola Abdulrazak, Benue State Coordinator, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, said there was a need for stakeholders to commit both time and resources towards hygiene promotion.
“Community and PHC is the key to the fight against COVID-19. United Purpose’s contribution to PHCs demonstrates their commitment to hygiene promotion.
”There is a great need for every stakeholder to commit both time and resources towards hygiene promotion, and they have led the way,” he said.
NAN reports that the RUSHPIN Programme was an initiative of the Government of Nigeria, implemented with funding support from the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)/Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).
United Purpose (UP), an international NGO headquartered in the UK, is the Executing Agency for the RUSHPIN programme.
RUSHPIN uses the ‘Community-Led Total Sanitation’ approach, to empower communities to collectively change their sanitation and hygiene behaviour, ensuring that every community member uses a toilet and practices good hygiene.