FG, UNICEF set to stop open defecation by 2025
The Federal Government of Nigeria and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has restated commitment to end open defecation by 2025 and achieve universal access to safely manage sanitation by 2030.
According to UNICEF, Nigeria ranks second among countries practicing open defecation globally with about 47million people engaging in the act.
Open defecation is incredibly dangerous, as contact with human waste can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, diarrhea, worm infestation, and under-nutrition.
Speaking in Ibadan at a Media Dialogue on Sanitation tagged “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” Deputy Director, Head, Child Right Information Bureau, Federal Ministry Of Information And Culture, Olumide Osanyinpeju, said it is a fact that UNICEF has been at the forefront of ensuring that we have access to safe drinking water supply, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene in our environment and communities.
Osanyinpeju noted that the government recently declared a state of emergency on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Nigeria and launched an Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign strategy to jump-start the country’s journey towards ending open defecation.He explained that the campaign is one of the most ambitious behavior-change campaigns in Nigeria with a strong citizen public engagement component.
“The campaign to and open defecation is a key initiative that will reach many underserved populations. Leveraging on what is currently working in the States with Local Government Areas’ certified ODF. This campaign mode will create a national movement with elements of policy advocacy, public advocacy, grassroots mobilization, and private sector engagement,” he added.
The Deputy Director said sanitation is essential to the survival and development of children because it reduces the severity and impact of malnutrition. He continued: “It can also help in reducing the spread of intestinal worms, as well as promoting dignity and boosting safety, particularly among women and children. Sanitation standards are intended to ensure that people do not suffer adverse health effects that can result if toilets are not available when needed. Proper sanitation facilities promote health because it allows people to dispose of their waste appropriately.”
Osanyinpeju said the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme was formulated and launched in 2016 in direct response to the challenges affecting the rural WASH sector, with the aim of achieving 100 percent WASH coverage in rural areas.