The United Nations Children Fund on Monday launched a campaign, sensitizing 500 rural traders on the importance of hand washing at Olufi Market, Gbongan in Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun

The UNICEF campaign is in collaboration with Ayedaade Local Government.

UNICEF consultant, Mrs Bidemi Omopariola, said that “hand washing with soap was an easy, effective and affordable do-it-yourself protection that prevents infections and saves lives.’’

Omopariola said that the importance of hand washing could not be over emphasised at this critical period of reported outbreak of Monkey-pox in some states in the country.

She said that the hand washing campaign targeted markets where sellers and buyers could help in spreading the message to the nooks and crannies of the state.

“It is important to turn hand washing to habit. The simple act of washing hands at this critical moment is an easy and affordable intervention.

“Good hand washing hygiene will reduce the risk of water borne diseases, flu, food poisoning and health care associated infection being passed from person to person,” she said.

Earlier, Mr Oduwole Bashir, Executive Secretary, Aiyedaade Local Government, said hand washing with soap was an inexpensive way of preventing diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections.

“It is important to turn hand washing to habit. The simple act of washing hands at this critical moment is an easy and affordable intervention,” Bashir said.

In his remarks, the Council Manager, Mr Olalekan Akande, also urged the traders to make hand washing a habit.

“When hand washing with soap is practiced regularly at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food, it can dramatically reduce the risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia, which can cause serious illness and death,” Akande said.

Some of the traders who spoke with NAN commended UNICEF for the programme.

Mrs Bukola Oyediran, a pepper seller, said the programme was an eye opener for her on the importance of hand washing.

Another trader, Mr Segun Adeoye, a meat seller, said he hardly washed his hands after sales and commended UNICEF said for helping him to know the importance of hand washing.