The importance of hand washing cannot be over-emphasised as it has been shown to reduce risk of falling ill and spread of diseases due to mirco-organisms, such as bacteria,fungi etc.
As the world celebrated global hand dashing day last week, it is therefore of utmost importance to remind us again of the many benefits of proper hand washing.
While most people wash their hands with water, the use of soap or ash is what can actually remove harmful organisms that cause illnesses.
Proper hand washing therefore, is the use of water and soap or ash, especially after using the toilet or bathroom; before and after eating; before and after breast feeding and after every outdoor activity etc.
Nigeria is said to have one of the highest child and maternal mortality rates in the world. Death in children under five is mostly as a result of pneumonia, a respiratory infection and diarrhoea.
Unfortunately,these deaths are avoidable with proper hygiene in which hand washing plays a major role.
According to recent statistics, one in every eight children in Nigeria die before the age of five and pneumonia and diarrhoea are said to account for 14% and 9% these figures respectively.
In a paper presentation to mark the Global Hand Washing Day, the project director,strategy of PSN-PACFaH,Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria- Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health, Remi Adeseun, he pointed out that sanitation was a major contributing factor to these avoidable under 5 years’ deaths.
This year’s global hand washing day is themed: ‘Make Hand Washing a Habit’.
According to Adeseun, if this year’s theme is fully complied with, not only will it prevent childhood pneumonia and diarrhoea the major killers of children under five but will ultimately save lives.
Further in Adeseun’s presentation, he revealed that habitual hand washing with soap and water could prevent about one out of every three episodes of diarrhoea in children under five years while another study reveals that one out of six episodes of pneumonia, another child killer can be avoided with this practice.
Eventual mortality can be reduced by almost half if hand washing is practiced continually, he said.
As captured in the most recent Nigeria Demographic Health Survey 2013 (NDHS 2013), about 854, 000(eight hundred and fifty four thousand) children out of the approximately 7,000,000(seven million) annual live births die before their fifth birthday in Nigeria.
Sadly,most of these deaths are preventable and largely treatable. The NDHS 2013 further explains that for every 1,000 live-birth, 128 die before they mark their fifth birthday.
As part of efforts to prevent this this sad but avoidable reality,at the just concluded global hand washing day,the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria under the Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFaH) Project in Nigeria, has called on the Nigerian government and the general public to embrace regular hand washing with soap and water.
According to Adeseun,government has a major role to play in ensuring that Nigerians embrace regular and proper hand washing.
Health promotion units at the federal and state levels should be re-invigorated to create a supportive environment, in collaboration with NGOs, CSOs and development partners, for behavioral change through effective orientation to promote regular hand washing,he stated.
Adeseun through the PSN-PACFaH is advocating for more government funding of the health sector,adding that the economic stability of Nigerians is directly linked to their health status.
The greater the investments in health by the government the higher the chances of the citizens becoming more productive. Increased allocation for the health sector by the government is therefore a sure-way of encouraging habitual healthy practice such as regular and proper hand washing by the citizens.
The PACFaH Project in Nigeria is advocating that the government at all levels place high premium on the health sector as a viable avenue to revive the economy.
For Nigeria to sustain and expand the various gains recorded in the health sector over the years, the PACFaH project is specifically advocating that the health sector budget be increased by allocating more funds to it in the 2017 national and state budgets. With increased health funding by the government the cost of health care service delivery will diminish thus freeing up more money for the citizens. Nigerians will now have more money to buy essential sanitation aids such as soap that will be used for proper hand washing.
Secondly,the body also wants the National Health Act (NHAct) which was signed into law in 2014 to be implemented. According to the Act,article 11 recommends that not less than one percent (1%) of the consolidated revenue fund of the federal government should be set aside as the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF). This Act when fully implemented will culminate in the proper take-off of the planned universal health coverage that will reduce drastically out-of-pocket spending for health care.
In conclusion,the PACFaH project made up of eight indigenous civil society organizations working to support the government of Nigeria to fulfil commitments and pledges made for child and family health calling for attention in the following specific areas:
- The management of childhood pneumonia with the use of amoxicillin dispersible tablet and childhood diarrhea with the use of Zinc-Low Osmolarity Oral Rehydration Salt (Zn-LO-ORS);
- Implementation of the family planning costed blueprint;
- Routine immunization by making available fund for essential vaccines and
- Implementation of the National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (NSPAN)
With increased government expenditure on health the citizens will have more money to live healthy and properly wash their hands regularly, he concluded.
How To Track Your Fitness
An average person burns between 80 and 100 calories per mile. But that number changes depending on many factors including height, weight, fitness level, terrain, clothing, and temperature.
If your goal is to lose weight, forget about the numbers and focus on developing a healthy eating plan, incorporating as much physical activity into your daily routine as possible, and walking for at least 30 minutes per day.
How Can I Evaluate My Fitness Level As A Walker?
Under 30: If you can walk 1 mile in 13 minutes or less, you’re in great shape.
30 – 39: A fourteen minute mile means you’re in good cardiovascular health.
40 – 59: A fourteen to fifteen minute mile means you’re in peak condition.
60 – 69: Doing a fifteen minute mile is an excellent pace.
70+: If you can walk 1 mile in about 18 minutes, you’re very fit.
However, if you exceed the ideal time for your age group by 3 to 6 minutes (or more), you’re not in the best shape aerobically. But don’t worry: just keep walking. Exercising consistently can lower your time.