United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday said it was organising a quiz competition in conjunction with the Benue state Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (BERWASA) and the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) for children at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps to mark this year’s Global Hand Washing Day.
UNICEF consultant for Benue, Mr. Orscar Godwin Effiong, who spoke while briefing newsmen in Makurdi on activities to mark the Day, said the gesture “is expected to create awareness in the children at the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps and schools on the benefits of hand-washing.” He said the event which holds on Monday with the theme, “Clean Hand Washing a Recipe for Health” “will attract over ten thousand pupils in and out of school children; therefore, increasing awareness amongst them.
” Effiong added that UNICEF in conjunction with its partners in the state “are truly engaging in the activities in celebrating hand-washing, and school pupils will test their knowledge practically and orally in the quizzes in their local governments against other environmental health clubs in the various schools.”
“At the end there will be winners that will be recognized with school supplies to encourage better performance and behavioural change in them towards hand- washing,” he said. Earlier, the General Manager of BERSAWA, Mr. Ejembi Ella, said the practice of proper hand- washing with soap or ash “is an affordable and effective intervention in the prevention of two of the most deadly diseases in children which are pneumonia and diarrhoea.”
He noted that globally the two diseases account for over 3.5 million deaths of children below five years of age annually. “Hand-washing with soap or ash can cut down the rate of diarrhea infection by 50 percent and pneumonia by 25 per cent. We must not forget in 2014 Nigeria fought and defeated the deadly Ebola disease through the practice of regular hand-washing.”