Country Director, Water Aid, Evelyn Mere, has urged leaders around the globe to invest 1.2 billion dollars on water, sanitation and hygiene for healthcare centres during the pandemic.
Mere made this call in a statement through her Communications and Media Manager, Mr Oluseyi AbdulMalik, in Abuja.
She said that the call was necessary as G20 Finance Ministers meet this week in Rome to discuss how they would build back from the pandemic.
According to her, world leaders are being advised to heed this call to save countries from the disturbing effects of the pandemic.
She stated that the said sum equated to just thirty minutes worth of what most countries had already spent on COVID-19 response packages in the last one year.
“Spending at least 1.2 billion dollars on water, sanitation and hygiene for healthcare centres is a no-brainer investment, both saving lives now and also protecting against future pandemics and the devastation they cause.
“Yet it could change everything for the millions who have no option but to seek care from the 50 per cent of health care facilities in the poorest countries which don’t have clean water.
“We must find the money needed as a matter of urgency, to make sure all healthcare facilities in the poorest countries have clean water and soap before another pandemic hits,’’ she added.
Mere emphasised that if frontline health workers can’t wash their hands, keep patients clean or have somewhere decent to go to the toilet, a hospital is not a hospital at all and it would be a breeding ground for disease.
The News Agency of Nigeria,(NAN)reports that since the onset of COVID-19, rich countries have spent significant sums, an average of nearly 10 per cent of their GDP, and a total of 20.6 trillion dollars, on stimulus packages to help bolster their economies and to recover from the pandemic.
In Nigeria, millions of people are at free risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases as 96 per cent of all healthcare centres in Nigeria lack access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services – putting the lives of doctors, nurses, midwives and patients at risk.
Providing doctors, nurses and patients with somewhere to clean their hands is one of the most effective ways to halt the spread of disease.
An essential injection of finance by the G20 would prevent millions of avoidable deaths through infections and diseases.
Not only has research shown that washing hands with soap helps reduce the spread of coronavirus by one third but it would also help curb the growth of antimicrobial resistance.
Antibiotics are too used in unclean health facilities as a ‘quick fix’ in place of proper hygiene – Which is contributing to an increasingly alarming situation as antibiotics lose their power to fight infections.
According to the World Health Organisation, investment of this nature would take just one year to pay for itself and produce savings for every dollar invested thereafter but an ever-growing debt crisis is preventing poorer countries from being able to invest into basic water. (NAN)