UN launches sanitation, hygiene fund
United Nations has launched its Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF), which is critical to scaling up investments in the sector. Speaking at the launch of SHF, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations (UN), Ms Amina Mohammed, said the facility could drive billions of dollars into the sanitation sector, noting that safe sanitation and hygiene was critical to solving some health issues globally.
According to her, the coronavirus pandemic exposed the fundamental role sanitation and hygiene play in stopping the spread of diseases and the vast inequities that exist in the access to sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health.
She stressed the need for basic hygiene like washing of hands and access to good toilet, saying they were key to facilitating healthy communities in the longer term.
Mohammed said the fund seeks about $2 billion over the next five years to support countries in bringing sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health to all.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said the SHF was in many senses a lifesaver and has a unique feature, as it was tied to a measurable performance.
Also, Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms Henrietta Fore, said sanitation and hygiene was a great equalizer for children.
“During a lockdown, how do you cope with the fact that your household does not have a toilet? This is particularly difficult for girls and women.
“If everyone had access to sanitation and hygiene in households, in their schools, in their health facilities and communities, it would make an enormous difference in our world.
Currently, it is estimated that half of the world’s population does not have access to safely managed sanitation, while about 620 million children attend schools that do not have toilets.
Also, it is estimated that one in three schools do not have basic sanitation and hygiene services, while 1 in five healthcare facilities have no sanitation services whatsoever.