The Federal Government has started the
implementation of mid-day group hand washing
before meals in schools across the country to
inculcate the culture of hand washing in
The Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman
Adamu, made this known in Abuja on Monday at
an event to commemorate the 2017 Global Hand
He said that group hand washing by school
children would promote the adoption of life-
saving habits and the sustainability of such
practices in health care facilities and homes.
Adamu said that the policy was part of the
Federal Government’s National Hygiene
Promotion Strategy, aimed at promoting the
well-being of the general public.
He said that raising awareness on hand washing
at critical times would bring about the needed
behavioural change, adding that this would
enhance healthy living and boost the nation’s
“Nigeria suffers from the ill effects of poor
hygiene, recoding over 59,000 deaths of children
before the age of five annually, out of the 1.7
million cases recorded globally.
“This is as a result of diarrhoea, pneumonia as
well as other sanitation and hygiene-related
diseases,’’ he added.
The minister said that the adoption of the hand
washing habit was recognised as one of the cost-
effective and inexpensive ways of preventing
diseases and deaths.
Adamu said that the adoption of good hygiene
practices, with emphasis on hand washing at
critical times, would play an important role in
achieving the targets of the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) on child survival,
nutrition and equity.
The Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Dr
Halidou Koanda, said that washing hands with
soap and water regularly was the most
important and cheapest method of curbing the
spread of disease-causing germs.
“Washing your hands with soap also means you
can spend less time in hospital and more time in
school; it keeps you healthy to do all the things
you love to do.
“It not only protects you, it also protects
everyone around you because it stops germs
spreading from you to others,’’ he added.
Koanda underscored the need to adopt hand
washing in all schools, saying that this would
promote the healthy living of the citizens.
Mr Moustapha Niang, WASH Specialist, UNICEF,
said that promoting hand washing practices
should not only involve the provision of
hygiene facilities, adding that it should also
entail making the people to use such facilities.
“Choosing hand washing is choosing health
which is important to our future.
“‘Good hygiene practices must be a habit which
requires choosing to perform them not only on
Global Hand Washing Days but also on a regular
basis,” he said.
The Global Hand Washing Day is celebrated on
Oct. 15 annually since 2008 when it was adopted
by the United Nations General Assembly and the
theme of the 2017 celebration is “Our Hands,
It is a day set aside to promote a global culture
of hand washing with soap and raise awareness
on the benefits of the practice.
The theme for this year’s event is
conceptualised to emphasise how hand washing
protects the people’s health, while offering
them the opportunity to build a sustainable