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Kebbi, others to benefit from USAID’s N4.12 billion WASH grant

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[files] USAID

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has empowered United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) with $9.98 million (N4.12 billion) for three years to support Federal Government in improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services in the Northwest.

The USAID grant is for Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states.

USAID Mission Director, Dr. Anne Patterson, in a statement in Maiduguri, said: “The funds will provide lifesaving WASH services to more than 300,000 people in need of assistance.

Patterson said the assistance would also help build community-centred approaches to deliver, operate and manage sustainable WASH services in rural areas.

According to him, “It will foster resilience in communities, in collaboration with the state governments,” adding that it can help rebuild dilapidated infrastructure and support community efforts to increase access to proper sanitation.

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He urged the people to adopt good hygiene practices and improve water quality in their various communities.

“We’re dedicated to ensuring clean water for more Nigerians,” he said.

He noted that the new activity with UNICEF will reduce waterborne diseases and keep more people healthy, particularly children.

According to the 2019 National Outcome Routine Mapping of WASH services (WASHNORM), 30 per cent of Nigerians lack access to basic water services and less than 10 per cent have access to safely managed water services.

While lamenting sanitation services, he said: “Only 44 per cent of Nigerians have access to basic sanitation services, 23 per cent, or 46 million people, lack access to proper sanitation.

He said Sokoto and Kebbi states have the lowest levels of access to basic water services at 38 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively.

Continuing, he added: “Access to basic sanitation is also low in Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto States, at 35 per cent, 38 per cent, and 41 per cent, respectively.

He noted that only five per cent of people in Sokoto and a per cent in Kebbi have access to safely managed water services.

He attributed severe shortage of clean water supply, toilets, and hand washing facilities in households across Nigeria to the formidable challenges.

“Poor access to WASH services is the major cause of diarrheal morbidity and mortality in Nigeria,” he said, adding that it is associated with at least 70,000 deaths in children under five each year.

He said the lesions from the COVID-19 pandemic have also reinforced the importance of adequate and safe water, basic sanitation, and proper hygiene practices to stem the spread of the disease.

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