Local African Reality - An Exposition On Hand Hygiene

Local African Reality - An Exposition On Hand Hygiene

Hand hygiene refers to the measures put in place to ensure that the human hand is clean and the
microbial count thereon is reduced to the end that pathogenic microorganisms present on the
hand are either very little or non-existent.
Statistics on hand hygiene and diseases related to the absence of hand hygiene:

1. Diarrhea has been determined to be the second biggest children killer disease.

2. Every year, more than 3.5 million children aged below 5 die from diarrheal and
respiratory tract-related infections, which are caused due to the unhindered transmission
of pathogenic microorganisms from person to person.

3. 75% of illnesses contracted around the house are preventable through the adoption of
good hygiene practices.

4. In the West and Central Africa region, less than 50% of schools present have access to

What do all these mean?

It can be inferred from the above statistics that because many have neglected hand hygiene
routines, illnesses and death occur. This means that hand hygiene is an effective measure in the
prevention of illnesses and it is capable of breaking the transmission and spread of
communicable diseases.

What can and should be done?

As hand washing can cut down diarrhea among children aged less than 5 years by about half and
respiratory tract infections among children in the same age group by a quarter, hand hygiene
practices in all households and healthcare facilities should be carried out. Hand hygiene should
be ensured:

1. After using the toilet

2. Before and after cooking or handling food

3. Before and after caring for an infant and changing their diapers

4. After contact with body fluids

5. Before and after touching a patient and their surrounding

6. Before and after aseptic procedures in health facilities

Different types of hand hygiene procedures:
Hand hygiene procedures can be either

1. Hand rubbing which involves applying alcohol-based formulations on the hands and then
rubbing these together. This procedure which is better suited for the hand as compared to
soap and water and takes less than 30 seconds to perform is advised when the hand is not
visibly soiled.

2. Hand washing which involves the use of soap and water. This procedure which takes
about 60 seconds to carry out is advisable when the hand is visibly soiled or has been in
contact with body fluids, a patient, raw food, a baby and/or the toilet.

In conclusion, research conducted over the years has shown that a less than $4 investment in
hand hygiene would derive the same health benefits as an $11 investment in construction of
latrines and thousands of dollars investment in immunisation.
This goes to show that hand hygiene is a safe, simple, affordable and effective measure useful in prevention of diseases and communicable diseases-related deaths.

Writer : Bankole Ayomide Oluwatosin
Phone Number: +2348104457719
Social Media Handle:
Twitter @ayomi1128
Instagram ayomidebankole_

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