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Only 35% of Nigerian hospitals have basic hygiene service

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Patients visiting hospitals in Nigeria could be at great risk of contracting fresh infection as only 35 percent of health facilities are furnished with basic hygiene services, a new joint report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has revealed.

The latest report has for the first time established a global baseline on hygiene services, evaluating access at points of care as well as toilets as more countries report on critical elements of hygiene services in their hospitals and other health centres.

Among lower-middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria leads from the back as Ghana has 62 percent of its health facilities equipped with basic hygiene services, Zimbabwe 58 percent, Kenya 45 percent, and Tanzania 42 percent.

Further analysis shows that basic hygiene coverage is often higher in non-government health care facilities. Over 60 percent of private facilities have basic hygiene services compared with about 35 percent of government-run hospitals that can boast of the same.

In terms of health care waste management services, just 35 percent of Nigeria’s health facilities comply with the standards, with more than 40 percent of urban facilities likely to have waste control than 25 percent of rural facilities.

Nigeria seems to have gained some improvements in its water service levels as the global report pegs its performance at 52 percent on the basic level and 25 percent in terms of limited services.

Having a water supply on the premises was identified as the major limiting factor in Nigeria and countries such as Honduras, Vanuatu, and Paraguay.

As of 2019, about 60 percent of health facilities generally had improved water supply systems but lack a basic water service.

Read also: UAE hospital to partner Nigerian healthcare institutions

In addition to the global indicator for a basic service, additional information on water services that are relevant for the quality of care, including accessibility, availability, and quality of water for staff and for patients were collected.

For instance, health care facilities should ideally have a continuous supply of running water, but this is difficult to achieve unless the water is piped into the building or the compound.

However, nine out of 10 facilities in two-thirds of facilities in Nigeria have non-piped supplies. Overall, the basic sanitation level was at 14 percent while 32 percent of facilities had no service at all.

The report, “Progress on WASH in health care facilities 2000–2021: special focus on WASH and infection prevention and control” notes that contaminated hands and environments play a significant role in the spread of diseases in healthcare facilities and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

It called for increased interventions in access to hand washing with water and soap and environmental cleaning from the angle of infection prevention and control programmes, which are crucial to providing quality care, particularly for safe childbirth.

The report being launched at World Water Week holding in Stockholm, Sweden also gives a continental outlook indicating that facilities in sub-Saharan Africa are lagging on hygiene services.

While three-quarters (73 percent) of health care facilities in the region overall have alcohol-based hand rub or water and soap at points of care, only one-third (37 percent) have hand washing facilities with water and soap at toilets.

The vast majority (87 percent) of hospitals have hand hygiene facilities at points of care, compared to 68 percent of other healthcare facilities.

In the least developed countries, only 53 percent of health care facilities have access on-premises to a protected water source.

Globally, around three percent of health care facilities in urban areas and 11 percent in rural areas had no water service.

Of the countries with available data, one in 10 health care facilities globally had no sanitation service. The proportion of health care facilities with no sanitation services ranged from three percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and in eastern and south-eastern Asia to 22 percent in sub-Saharan Africa.

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