Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, a director at the Federal Ministry of Health, has advised Nigerians to make hand-washing their lifestyle to reduce the burden of diseases in the country.
Mrs Bako-Aiyegbusi, the head, health Promotion Division at the ministry, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Tuesday in Abuja.
She said Nigerians should be conscious of what they do, saying “ we should consciously take some actions to protect ourselves from ill health and to protect our families.
“These actions are very simple such as imbibe good hand-washing hygiene before you eat, let us wash our hands, before and after cooking, let us watch our hands.
“After going to toilet, let us wash our hands, after cleaning our babies.
“If we and every member of our family can make it a lifestyle, statistics have shown that 60 per cent of those diseases that are communicable diseases will reduce.
In addition, she said, people should keep their environment clean and desist from throwing dirts into the drains.
`Let us have dust bins placed in strategic places within our communities, let people make effort to put those dirts into dust bins and let communities put a system where they can evaluate dirts so that we don’t have our communities littered with refuse.
“These are simple things that we can do. Let us have designed toilets in communities where people can defecate,’’ she said.
According to her, those little and cost effective methods will help Nigeria reduce its disease burden.
“Nigeria is a big country, the giant of Africa; we are giant in land mass; in human and economy we are giant.
“The same way, our health indices are very poor; the achievement we have made in economy, education does not reflect in our attitude and practice toward health issues.
“The mortality rate for women is very high, the death rate for new born is also very high, statistics of people without access to basic sanitation and water is very low.
“We know our needs are high and government cannot do it alone; we have private sector that is supporting government but we are not getting desire results.
“For instance, Lassa fever has been with us for over 50 years and there are simple things everybody can do to reduce the cases to the bearest minimum.’’
Bako-Aiyegbusi said the disease burden in Nigeria was high, even burden for non-communicable diseases is high, adding that before, we hardly heared that people died of cancer.
“ We categorised cancer as the disease of the rich people.
“But look at what is happening now, it is for both the rich and the poor, indicating that our lifestyle is contributing to the disease burden.
“How many of us of us do exercise at least three times a week? These are the things that will not cost us anything.
“When you are physically fit, it will improve your health and wellbeing.
“For instance, when you go to your back yard and you pluck fresh vegetables, it makes you healthy.
“ The situation has changed today, everybody wants to eat fast food; all these behaviours are making the number of cases to increase.
“All these are simple things that we are not doing that can make us easily come down with diseases, infections, that are making our statistics on disease burden to be high,’’ she said.