Winners of the 2019 UN World Water Day Inter-School Handwashing Essay Competition

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Nigeria Health Watch, T.Y Danjuma Foundation, Water Aid and EpiAFRIC put together an inter-school handwashing essay competition in a bid to contribute to the UN’s mission of “Leaving No One Behind”. The competition was for students of primary 4–6 and junior secondary within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Over a hundred students sent in submissions on the essay theme: “Why Clean Hands Matter”. The main objective of this competition was to encourage school going children to wash their hands regularly.

Winners of the junior secondary category

  • Destiny, Junior Secondary School, Jabi – 1st Position
  • Deborah, Raberto Schools – 2nd Position
  • Aisha, JSS 3 Raberto Schools – 3rd Position

Winners of the primary 4 – primary 6 category

  • Joel, Living Fountain International School, Mbora, Year 6 – 1st Position
  • Emmanuella, Lela Blossom School, Lifecamp, Year 5 – 2nd Position
  • Nichole, Living Fountain International School, Mbora, Year 4 – 3rd Position

Special recognition awards (for the most original essays)

  • Junior secondary category – Jecoliah, Hillside School
  • Primary 4-6 category – Adriane, Year 4 CTL Academy

See winners of both categories and their essays below.

Winner of the junior secondary category: Destiny (Junior Secondary School, Jabi)

Hand washing is an important technique in removing bacterial and fecal matters from our hands using soap and clean water. It reduces the transmission of these bacteria and fungi directly to others. It also reduces the risk of transmitting infections to oneself and others.

Hand washing is important because many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean running water. Hand washing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps to prevent infections because people frequently touch their eyes, nose and mouth without realising it. Washing your hands properly and frequently is one of the most important secrets to live a healthy life. It can help prevent and control the spread of many diseases. Good hand hygiene will reduce the risk of conditions such as flu, food poisoning and health care associated infections being passed from one person to another. Lack of proper hand washing can lead to norovirus, airborne disease, hepatitis A and so many others to mention just a few.

Other consequences of not washing the hands or improper washing of hands include food related diseases that can lead to intestinal problems which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Proper hand washing is the effective way of removing germs from our hands, it aids the prevention of diarrhea and uncomfortable intestinal disease, it protects us from common eyes diseases, it reduces the bacteria content of the hands, it keeps your workday free form bacteria which causes fatigue, in fact it prevents the spread of the germs that causes diseases generally.

We need to wash our hands before, during and after preparing food, before eating and after eating, before and after caring for someone who is sick, before and after treating a cut or wound, after using the toilet, after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet, after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing etc

It takes about 15 to 20 seconds of vigorous hand washing with soap and water to be effectively rid of germs. In actual sense, regular soap simply causes bacteria to loosen their grip on your hands to be rinsed away, using water along still seems to work just fine, as long as you rub your hands together vigorously. By contrast, anti-bacterial soap has additive that are designed to kill bacteria out rightly.

Clean hands matter because it prevents you from getting diseases like infection and flu. It helps us to be healthy at all-time even though a lot of people feel it is not important.

Winner of the primary 4–6 category: Joel (Living Fountain International School)

Clean hands deserve two thumbs up.

Regular washing of hands involves the use of soap, ash, salt or disinfectant or water. This practice helps to ensure that our hands remain relatively germs-free.

Cleanliness involves washing our hands after using the toilet brushing our teeth, washing meat, snail, fish or as well as before and after eating. It is pertinent to note that we must always ensure that we use enough water to wash away the detergent used. This will help to ensure that we do not take in chemical substances in a bid to maintain clean hands. We must also ensure that we rub both hands together for at least twenty seconds using soap and water.

After washing our hands, we must ensure that we dry our hands with a towel and use the towel to turn the tap off.

The benefits of washing our hands are numerous. Firstly, washing our hands helps to protect us from germs. germs exist everywhere around us; in the air, on the ground and even on objects and kitchen utensils.

Again, regular washing of hands helps to prevent diarrhoea. Not only that, by washing our hands, we protect ourselves from common eye infections like conjunctivitis. Hand washing generally helps to keep us healthy. Therefore, if you want to stay healthy, keep your hands clean by washing them regularly.

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