By Emeka Nwokocha
As part of efforts to promote the culture of regular handwashing and proper hygiene, to eradicate diarrhoea-related diseases in Delta State, Warri based nongovernmental organisation, Development Initiative for Community Impact (DICI), has kicked off a sensitization campaign and training of teachers to promote Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in primary and secondary schools.
The programme commenced on Friday 12 July, at DICI head office, Warri, headquarters of Warri south Local Government Area of the state, in collaboration with Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), a nongovernmental organisation leading the WASH campaign in Nigeria.
The sensitization programme availed the teachers an opportunity of acquiring basic training on handwashing and water purifying techniques so as to eradicating diarrhoea-related diseases in the schools and communities.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of DICI, Mrs. Rachael Ruppee said that the programme was aimed to ingrain handwashing culture in the schools with a view to curbing the menace of diarrhoea-related diseases prevalent in communities.
Her words: “our goal is to promote good hygiene through regular washing of hands and to facilitate access to safe drinking water in Delta State; by so doing, we will be eradicating diarrhoea-related diseases in our communities, especially among children.
“We started with the schools because we are primarily concerned about the children who are often times more vulnerable to diarrhoea-related diseases.
“At this session, we are training teachers from 8 schools and colleges in Warri South, Uvwie, Ughelli South, and Udu Local Government Areas of the state on handwashing and water purification techniques, and they will in turn sensitize the children on the importance of handwashing, as well as also get them to spread the message of handwashing, from one child to another in our homes and communities. Our objective is to facilitate the goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations which calls for clean water and sanitation for all by 2030.
The Coordinator at PIND and resource person at the programme, Mr. John Nwamuo, emphasised importance of proper hygiene in the schools, noting that handwashing and safe drinking water would prevent diarrhoea related diseases common among children in the communities.
He trained the teachers on the use of “Tippy Taps,” a new method to achieving regular handwashing in the schools, saying “it will address recurring shortage of clean water and wash hand bowls in the schools.” The teachers were also trained on the use of Bio Sand Filter (BSF) method to get safe drinking water in the schools, including at homes and other public institutions.
Nwamuo likens the teachers as agents of change in the society, saying that the importance of their roles as educators cannot be over stressed. He implored the teachers to put the knowledge they have gained to practice by promoting proper hygiene in the schools and communities.
Nwamuo emphasized importance of improved laterine in the schools, and communities, saying “open defecation poses serious health challenges in the society of which the rating revealed by Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH NORM) survey stated that Nigeria is the second country globally in the practice of Open Defecation.”
He called for a collaboration of all stakeholders to reverse the ugly and indescent trend through improved latrine facilities.
The teachers commended the organisers of the programme, saying it would have a huge impact in the wellbeing of children and the society at large. They promised to champion Water Sanitation and Hygiene campaign to promote good health in the schools and communities.
The highpoint of the programme was distribution of cartons of water purifier to the schools.
Teachers from Ugbuwangue, Yonwuren, Dore Numa, College of Commerce, Essi college 1 & 2, Otu-jeremi, Ugbolokposo, Nana, and Ovwian secondary schools and colleges participated in the programme.