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USAID invests $2m to boost hygiene in Sokoto, Kebbi

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Kwara vows to sustain campaign against cholera
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has flagged off $2 million Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Kebbi and Sokoto states.

While a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report indicated that fewer than 40 per cent of Sokoto and Kebbi residents had access to reliable water and sanitation services, up to 70,000 Nigerians die yearly from preventable water-borne diseases.

The launch of the two-year project would, however, improve water resource management, increase access to proper sanitation and encourage good hygiene in the two states.

The new USAID Improved Sustainability of Integrated WASH Services (iWASH) will help reduce water-borne diseases and associated socio-economic challenges through an innovative integrated approach, with focus on improving access to WASH services in health centres, schools and underserved communities.

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USAID Development Outreach and Communications Specialist, Amarachi Obinna-Nnadi, said at the launch of iWASH project in Abuja that the project would help Kebbi and Sokoto states provide better community WASH services and contribute to improved health outcomes.

According to Obinna-Nnadi, USAID is engaging the Nigerian Green Habitat Initiative (GHI) to manage a coalition of local organisations to improve access to improved water resource management and address broader social determinants for conflicts over scarce water resources.

The Project Director, Green Habitat Initiative (GHI), Sadiq Gulam, remarked: “iWash is motivated by the appalling statistics of poor access to WASH projects that will improve the lives of indigents in Kebbi and Sokoto states.”

KWARA State Government will continue to ensure the compliance of food vendors in the state with government’s specifications for food hygiene as a way of preventing cholera in the state, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Raji Razaq, said yesterday.

He told The Guardian in Ilorin that the state had recently experienced cases of cholera in Kwara North, but due to effective response by the government, the cases did not spread to other parts of the state.

He, however, said the state did not record any casualty as a result of the outbreak.

“Some two months ago, we had cholera outbreak in a town called Bode Saadu, in Moro Local Council of Kwara, but the government promptly responded to it. Then two weeks later, there was another outbreak at Lafiagi.

“But I am happy to let you know that, for the past two months, we have not recorded any other case. Our people must observe basic hygiene rules to prevent recurrence. But many of them do not usually comply. We will continue to enlighten them on this, until they comply.”

He advised residents to present themselves early to qualified health facilities around them if they observe symptoms of the disease, especially persistent stooling and vomiting.

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