By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs Toyin Saraki has declared war against sepsis (infection from dirty hands) and poor hygiene in the country.
This is even as she takes her hand washing campaign from schools to health care facilities in a bid to popularize hand washing and forestall preventable illnesses caused by germs.
In a keynote address at an event to mark the International Day of the Midwives, Saraki who is the Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives said that Nigeria must alight with the war against sepsis.
At the event hosted by the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), in Abuja, Mrs Saraki said that the war against ill health could be won through hand washing.
“The health sector in Nigeria and around the world must implement the WHO 2017 World Health Assembly Sepsis Resolution.
“Hand hygiene must be a quality indicator in every facility and a national marker of health care quality, with access to soap and water monitored and assessed.
“I am declaring war on sepsis and poor hygiene in health centres – alongside midwives and nurses, I will promote hand hygiene amongst health workers and champion WASH in healthcare facilities.”
“Here in Nigeria, the WHO found that 29% of healthcare facilities do not have access to safe water and toilets, whilst a WaterAid survey revealed that half of primary health facilities do not have handwashing facilities in delivery rooms.
“Pregnant women and newborns are thereby placed in huge danger and at risk of sepsis, which is a leading cause of death in hospitals.
“As the Founder-President of the WBFA, I work with our midwives through our MamaCare and EmONC programmes to ensure that mother and baby are safe from birth through to age.
“Without adequate WASH facilities, however, midwives all over the world are unable to safely carry out their crucial work – and to lead the way with quality care,” she said.
During her speech to the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Mrs Saraki commended frontline health workers for their passion and dedication to saving lives commenting:
She expressed her commitment to continue to champion the voices of the midwives and ensuring that a better and safer health care system is created.
Mrs Saraki’s keynote speech came after the launch last Friday of a new, global WASH campaign, initiated by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa in partnership with the World Health Organization, Global Water 2020 and other partners.
The launch aims to transform water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare centres and schools around the world. Responding to Mrs Saraki’s campaign, Dr. Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Nigeria, commented:
Speaking at that event, the head of WHO mission said: “We know that health facilities must be a focus for us to concentrate on patient safety – handwashing is key for all facilities, including in primary healthcare.
“Implementing hygiene standards in health centres will bring down disease transmission. I would like to assure you that the whole of WHO supports the foundation in this campaign and I commit myself as the WHO representative to support you,” he said.