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WTD: UNICEF calls for prompt action to end open defecation in Nigeria

defecation

*As 46million Nigerians still lack access to toilets

*Seek reflection of toilets in national, states budgets

*136,712 people are currently living in ODF certified communities – Borno RUWASSA

By Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Toilet Day (WTD), the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF is calling for prompt action and collaborative efforts to end the menace of open defecation in Nigeria.

This is just as about 46million Nigerians still lack access to toilets and protection against diseases and possible deaths.

Speaking during a one-day media dialogue to commemorate the World Toilet Day in Maiduguri, the Officer -in- Charge, UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Dr Clement Adams said, it is only through such concerted effort that Nigeria would be able to achieve Open Defecation Free, ODF, status by 2025.

“At a time when the Federal Government has made a call to make the country open defecation free through the nationwide Clean Nigeria Campaign, it’s important that all states adopt this in a mission mode, to become open defecation free by 2025.

“Practical steps towards ending open defecation by constructing more toilets and water sources especially among the most vulnerable population whether in camps or host communities needs to be pursued.

“Schools, markets and other public places must not be left out even as we promote behavioural change among the people”, Dr Adams said.

The UNICEF field officer who said that the theme of the 2021 WTD is apt further disclosed that with about 16 per cent of the population in Borno and 32 per cent in Yobe State still practicing open defecation, there was need to review existing mechanisms with a view to improving access to toilets in order to reduce disease outbreaks.

He also called for the reflection of toilets in the National and States budget saying; “National and States budgets must reflect the importance of toilets and water sources to the health of children and workforce.

We must prioritise investment in physical and human resources and scale up expansion targeting expansion of toilet and water services”, he added.

He added that UNICEF has since 2018 been supporting state governments in the North East with the contribution and rehabilitation of 4,752 and 2,976 toilets respectively.

” Since 2018, UNICEF has supported state governments in the north-east with the construction and rehabilitation of 4,752 and 2,976 toilets respectively across IDP camps and communities.

“About 200 sites have been supported with hand pump boreholes while 126,690 non-food items have been distributed to displaced and vulnerable families.

“UNICEF has built capacities of state departments and LGAs to deliver safe and sustainable WASH services to communities and IDPs. UNICEF has also supported Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to undertake rapid response to cholera outbreaks”, Dr Adams added.

In the meantime, the Borno State government has said that at least 136,712 people have abandoned open defecation and are currently living in communities certified Open Defecation free in Biu, Shani and Bayo LGAs.

Reeling out the feat recorded brother state during his presentation at the media dialogue, Borno State RUWASSA General Manager, Dr. Mohammed Aliyu said, the government through its RUWASSA program implemented Community Led Total Sanitation, CLTS, in Konduga, Bama, Mafa, BIU, Bayo, and Shani L.G.As.

According to him, with the implementation of the program, about 66,570 people gained access to safe sanitation facilities through construction/rehabilitation and improvement of household latrines under the Community-Led Total Sanitation.

He said, “18,816 household latrines were constructed and put to use under the Community-Led Total Sanitation.

“Promotion of improved technology options through sanitation marketing led to construction of 13000 “Safe Toilet” (SATO PAN)

He added that the Borno State Government is committed to support and ensure that all communities in the state are ODF.

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Chuka Francis

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