Health professionals around the globe with focus in Africa have been called upon to take action on improvement to water sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities even as WaterAid laments that 42 percent of health care facilities (hospitals) in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to clean water.
More worrisome is that out of the 42 percent, Nigeria gulp 29 percent of hospitals and clinics that do not have access to clean water and sanitation.
Looking for a road map in addressing the ugly trend, a one day workshop was organised in Plateau, Ekiti, Benue, Jigawa, Enugu and Bauchi states.
The workshop tagged ‘Stakeholders Validation Workshop on Wash in Health Care Centers’, held Thursday in Jos, the Plateau State Capital also revealed that the same percentage (29%) of Nigerians do not have access to safe toilets as well as 16% of the Nigeria population, also do not have anywhere to wash their hands with soap, which however, puts patients and health care workers at unacceptable risks of infection, including new mothers and their newborns.
The forum also exposed that lack of water and sanitation, combined with poor hygiene also contributes to the over-use and mis-use of antibiotics as they are used to stand in for soap and water in infection prevention, resulting in higher level of anti-microbial resistance.
According to the Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Dr. Micheal Ojo, he posited that, “clean plentiful water, good sanitation and good hygiene, including hand washing with soap, are absolutely essential to effective health care.
Ojo stated that “the ability to keep a hospital or clinic clean is such a fundamental basic requirement of health care within the Sustainable Development Goal, saying that the commitment is to ensure that everyone has access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030.
“We want to see health care facilities prioritised, no new hospitals or clinic should be build without water and sanitation”, Ojo said.
However, the workshop which also commemorated the 2016 Global Hand Washing Day, also informed that one in every five deaths of newborn babies in the developing world are caused by infections with a strong link to dirty water, poor sanitation and unhygienic conditions.