By Emeka Nwokocha
In pursuit of its cardinal objective to promote good health in communities, schools and families across Delta State and Nigeria, a foremost Warri based nongovernmental organisation (NGO), Environmental and Rural Mediation Centre (ENVIRUMEDIC), on Tuesday 15 October, joined other global actors to mark this year’s Global Handwashing Day.
This time, the sensitisation on regular handwashing was taken to public schools in Warri, headquarters of Warri south local government area of Delta State.
Leading a team of dedicated personnel, and volunteers from ENVIRUMEDIC, the Executive Director of the NGO, Chief Monday Itoghor kicked off the exercise at Hussey College, Warri.
The students gathered at the assembly ground in their hundreds to be part of the novel event.
Itoghor, told the students: “I have come with a team of personnel and volunteers from ENVIRUMEDIC to your school (Hussey College) to mark the Global Handwashing Day which holds on 15th day of October, every year. We are here to teach you how you can wash your hands properly with soap to prevent germs and promote good health.”
He emphasized strongly the health benefits of regular washing of hands, noting that when the hands are washed properly and kept clean always, they ward off germs and keep the body free from sickness.
“Hand washing is the easiest way of preventing diseases and saving lives. So you should imbibe the culture of washing your hands regularly at critical times especially before and after eating, after visiting toilets and hand shaking,” Itoghor said.
Continuing, he said that the regular hand washing enlightenment exercise was organised by ENVIRUMEDIC, in collaboration with E-WASH (Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), sponsored by USAID. He advised the students to cultivate the culture of washing their hands regularly.
The Senior Programme Manager of E-WASH, Mr. Lucky Enegide, practically demonstrated how hands could be washed properly and effectively to the admiration of the students. Subsequently, the students cheered and applauded when two student volunteers performed the handwashing exercise effectively.
Briefing the Principal of Hussey college, Mrs. Margaret Oputu Boyowa, on the exercise, Chief Itoghor said: ” the Global Handwashing Day is aimed to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives, adding that it ensures governments provide portable water for the citizens.
Itoghor, noted that the peoples’ improvised source of water is polluted, stressing that it is the peoples’ right to have access to pure water.
He said that E-WASH club shall be constituted in the school to sustain the sensitisation on regular handwashing, even beyond the school environment.
The Principal commended ENVIRUMEDIC for choosing Hussey college as a beneficiary of the public health enlightenment programme. She emphasized importance of cleanliness in schools, saying contributions of individuals and nongovernmental organisations are needed to make meaningful progress in that regard. She advised that the good programme should be extended to primary schools, even as she expressed strong interest in the proposed E-WASH club in the school, and tasked ENVIRUMEDIC to speed up the process.
Commenting on the exercise, GSS2 students, Enweliku Favour, and Tajudeen Temitayo, said they had learned the importance of regular washing of hands in promoting good health, saying they would take the message home to educate their siblings.
At College of Commerce, Warri, Chief Itoghor, educated the students on the health benefit of regular washing of hands while Mr. Lucky Enegide demonstrated before the students, how to wash hands properly and effectively. Subsequently, two students, Master Uke Ifechukwu, and Precious Odoko, put what they have learned to practice and performed the hand washing exercise effectively.
Reacting to the event, Master Uke Ifechukwu, 14-year old SS1 student of the college, expressed excitement at the exercise, saying it availed the students the opportunity of developing good hygiene culture and addicting to regular washing of hands to prevent germs. Continuing, he said the programme was a novel development, saying it was his first time attending an event that promotes regular washing of hands.
“I am glad to be part of this programme and will ensure I put what I’ve learned to practice and live a healthy life. It is the first time I’ve attended a programme of this nature,” he stated.
The Principal of College of Commerce, Apostle Useh Felix, commended Chief Itoghor and his team for coming to enlighten his students on the importance of regular handwashing, noting that the information was quite relevant to maintain a healthy society.
Chief Itoghor, told the principal that E-Wash club shall be constituted in the school to sustain the campaign for regular washing of hands and also take the information beyond the school environment.