By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
A Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, Help Keep Clean Foundation, which focuses on hygiene, has responded to the new alert on the deadly Ebola disease by embarking on a three-day hand-washing awareness campaign.
Championed by the founder and President of the foundation, Queen Ijeoma Chikezie the hand washing sensitisation campaign in the Abia State capital, Umuahia was executed under the supervision of the Abia State Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health in some public primary schools.
The pupils were taken through steps on a clean and healthy lifestyle through proper washing of their hands with water and soap. The children were also enlightened on how to prevent diseases and infections, particularly, Ebola, which has reportedly re-surfaced in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The exercise by Help Keep Clean Foundation is targeted at 30 primary schools. Each school was presented with buckets, drums for water, tissue papers, soaps and baskets.
To drive home the message, an illustrated hand washing book, â€˜Tom & His Washing Hand Friendsâ€™ written by the Abia state-born ex-beauty queen and founder of the NGO, was distributed to over 7000 pupils in the different primary schools.
Explaining her motivation, Queen Ijeoma said, â€œContributing to the provision and improvement of clean water, sanitation facilities and basic hygiene education in primary schools is what my foundation is all about. From UNICEFâ€™s report, every year in Nigeria, about 124,000 children under the age of five die from preventable diseases caused by lack of clean water, adequate sanitation and basic hygiene education. The diseases include diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, cold, tummy bugs, respiratory infection and skin infection, these germs includes bacteria, viruses and fungi.â€
During a courtesy visit to the paramount ruler of Omoba Kingdom in Isialangwa South Local Government area of Abia State, Eze Nwakanma Nwankpa, the traditional ruler applauded the Help Keep Clean Foundation for the successful completion of the hand washing sensitisation in the state.
Eze Nwakpa praised Queen Ijeoma for embarking on such a herculean humanitarian exercise.
He said, “My daughter, I am very proud you and your team for carrying out this very important exercise. My community and school benefited from this exercise as well as other communities in different parts of Abia state and I will ensure that it is sustained.”