By Tosin Kolade
An international Non-Governmental Organisation, WaterAid Nigeria, has said that only four per cent of healthcare facilities in Nigeria have access to basic Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services.
The organisation warned that absence or lack of adequate WASH services in healthcare facilities could compromise patients’ safety; exacerbate infection spread, increase risks of hospital-acquired infections (HAI).
Ms. Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, said this at a consultative mceeting with the FCT Hospital Management Board and staff of select healthcare facilities in Abuja on Thursday.
Mere, who was represented by Head, Policy, Advocacy and Communications, Kolawole Banwo, said this would lead to failure to combating Anti-microbial Resistance (AMR), affecting staff, caregivers and vulnerable patients.
“It is therefore a crucial element of quality of care expected in any health care facility for effective infection prevention and control.
“According to the World Health Organisation, vaccines must be delivered alongside other essential public health measures – including water, sanitation, and hygiene – to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable approach to controlling the spread of the disease.
“WaterAid Nigeria has been working in other states in Nigeria to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene are properly integrated as a robust strategy to ensure quality healthcare delivery,” she added.
Mere noted that in one of its focal states, the organisation supported the rehabilitation of water facilities, ensured reticulation of water and installation of handwashing stations to points of care in a primary health care centre.
“I am glad that we can scale this impact in the FCT and I sincerely thank everyone for being here today. This shows our commitment to actualizing sustainable WASH in health care facilities and delivering quality care to our population.
“I hope that this co-creation meeting brings about sustained improvement in the access levels to water, sanitation and hygiene within our healthcare facilities,” she added.
The country director added that the meeting would also serve as an avenue for increasing funds in healthcare facilities, access to hygiene services and overall behavior change for everyone.
Dr Aloysius Ebedi, Representative, FCT Hospital Management Board, said the glaring issues surrounding poor access to WASH was worrisome in many hospitals.
According to him, the collaboration with WaterAid is a welcome idea which would help to scale up efforts towards qualitative provision of health for the citizens.
He said the role of handwashing in infection prevention and control can not be overemphasised, saying it is critical for all stakeholders to change the narrative of poor hygiene practices.
He therefore pledged the commitment of the board to give the needed support for best practices in healthcare delivery in the country. (NAN)