Dr Jude Oko, a member of the Nigerian Medical Association, Abuja chapter, has said that no fewer than 190,000 children die of diarrhoea in Nigeria every year.
Oko, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Wednesday, described the situation as regrettable, and emphasised the need for regular hand washing, which he said, was crucial in preventing the disease.
“The very simple act of hand washing with soap can save hundreds of thousands of children who needlessly die every year.”
Oko added that regular hand washing with soap had become even more necessary in view of the ongoing effects of contaminated water from floods in some parts of the country.
According to him, diarrhoea is a frequent and excessive discharge of the bowels, producing thin and watery stools, usually a symptom of gastro-intestinal infection.
Oko, who stressed the need for increased sensitization about the ailment, said that diarrhoea could be treated with Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) and zinc tablet for fast relief and energy restoration.
“ There is need to educate people on the use of ORS and zinc as the best recommended treatment for diarrhoea disease.’’
He stressed the need to strengthen the practice of hand washing in schools and communities across the country in order to reduce the risk of death of children under the age of five.
According to Oko, in Nigeria, many children are not healthy due to intake of unclean water, hence the need to move round schools to educate children on how best to wash their hands after using the toilet and before eating.
“Diarrhoea and other hygiene-related illnesses can be deadly for young children.
“Simple strategies such as good hygiene are critical in preventing these hygiene-related diseases,’’ he added.