Nigeria open defecation – UNICEF builds 7,728 toilets in northeast

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Maiduguri – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said 7,728 toilets were built for various communities in the northeastern area of ​​the country between 2018 and so far as part of its campaign against defecation in the open air.

As part of a long-term target plan to end open defecation and other environmental sanitation issues in Nigerian cities by 2025, UNICEF said an estimated amount of 5.3 billion dollars (or 1.9 trillion naira) would be needed.

In his presentation at a media orientation program to commemorate World Toilet Day 2021 in Maiduguri, Borno state on Thursday, UNICEF chief of the Maiduguri field office, Dr Clement Adams , said: “Since 2018, UNICEF has supported the governments of the northeastern states with the construction and rehabilitation of 4,752 and 2,976 toilets respectively in IDP camps and communities.

“About 200 sites were supported by hand pump boreholes while 126,690 non-food items were distributed to displaced and vulnerable families.”

He expressed concern that 46% of the Nigerian population still practice open defecation, with around 16% of the population in Borno State and 32% of the population in the Yobe State involved in this unpleasant act.

Besides its health implications, Adams said ending open defecation will help protect the dignity of women and girls and also reduce the incidence of gender-based violence.

He said at least 46 million Nigerians do not have access to a toilet and the protection it provides against possible illness and death.

Adams said, however, that across the country at least 46 million Nigerians still do not have access to a toilet and the protection it provides against possible illness and death.

“With approximately 16% of the population of Borno State and 32% of the population of Yobe State still practicing open defecation, all stakeholders need to review existing mechanisms for improve access to toilets, reduce epidemics and fight malnutrition in times of conflict. -affected children, ”he said.

The main goal of UNICEF’s response is to promote access to toilets, increase the number of open defecation-free communities in northeast Nigeria, and improve health and child welfare.

Adams also said that achieving a society without open defecation will promote the well-being of the workforce and help reduce stunting in children.

Against the backdrop of the federal government’s determination to make the country open defecation free through the national Clean Nigeria campaign, Adams said it was important for all states to endorse the mission to become defecation free in the open air by 2025.

He said states should take practical steps to end open defecation by building more toilets and water sources, especially among the most vulnerable populations, whether in camps or host communities.

“Schools, markets and other public places should not be left behind, even as we encourage behavior change among the population.

“National and state budgets should reflect the importance of toilets and water sources for the health of children and the workforce. We need to prioritize investments in physical and human resources and scale up

programs to expand toilet and water supply services.

“We have to put our money where our mouth is. It is more cost effective to build more toilets for people affected by conflict than to treat outbreaks of cholera epidemics with unnecessary deaths. The inability to access the toilet is costly. It robs children of their health.

“When people die of complications from cholera, children are unfortunately deprived of parental care and the most basic protection,” he said.

Adams pledged that UNICEF will continue to work with state governments and agencies in the northeast to promote the well-being of those affected by conflict and protect the rights of conflict-affected children to the life and good health.

For her part, UNICEF WASH Officer in Maiduguri, Mamita Bora Thakkar, said UNICEF has strengthened the capacities of state departments and local governments to provide safe and sustainable WASH services to communities and displaced people. inside the country (IDP).

The UNICEF official, while providing an update on response activities, said the United Nations agency had supported Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to undertake a rapid response to cholera outbreaks. .

The UNICEF program manager, however, said that the solution is not in building toilets, but that emphasis must be placed on the safe and regular disposal of toilet substances and trash cans to ensure an environment own.

She also identified behavior change as an issue that more campaigns should be targeted, especially among students and adolescents so that they can imbibe a good hygiene culture.

She said federal and state governments will need to triple their current annual spending on the sanitation program and efforts to end open defecation.

She also called for behavior change, especially among younger people, adding that it was necessary to start instilling good hygiene practices in students and in communities to achieve the desired goal.

Thakkar spoke of the need to ensure access to drinking water in households, schools and markets.

She said implementing a national campaign and transformational sanitation promotion program to end open defecation should be the top priority for the federal government.

Thakkar also urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency for the WASH campaign, with states developing their own WASH action plans to achieve the goal.

“About $ 5.3 billion (1.9 trillion naira) will be needed to end open defecation in the country and solve sanitation problems in the country,” she said. .

Thakkar said UNICEF has supported state governments in the northeastern part of the country with the construction and rehabilitation of 4,752 and 2,976 toilets in IDP camps and communities respectively.

Previously, the general director of Yobe State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency, Alhaji Abubakar Liman Baba, said that currently

159 communities have been certified open defecation free (ODF) in Yobe while

107,000 people go to ODF certified communities.

Baba said the agency had embarked on the construction of latrines and water supply facilities in schools and health centers, adding that 3,593 safely managed latrines are now in place.

Overall, Baba said 428 communities now have access to basic sanitation facilities across the state.

According to him, 30,081 people have joined the use of safely managed latrines.

“There are under construction of 60 VIP latrine compartments in the schools of Fune and the local government area of ​​Geidam with a connection to water facilities,” he said.

Speaking in a similar vein, Borno State RUWASA Director Mohammed Musa Aliyu listed some of the state’s achievements in tackling the problem of open defecation.

He said his agency had trained 2,600 young people in open defecation advocacy who have now been deployed in rural areas to raise awareness about practices that will promote open defecation in their neighborhood.

“We have also supported market associations in leading the campaign against open defecation in the markets.

“The state government has also taken steps to maintain our washing facilities in our communities and drill boreholes in various rural communities,” he said.

According to Aliyu, UNICEF has also supported government efforts to ensure cross-linking of water supply facilities to reach rural communities.

He added that the state government is currently providing water to the various IDP camps and is working to resettle IDPs in IDP camps to their communities where they can live a normal life.

“The Borno State government has also approved the rehabilitation of more than 300 boreholes in the state. Three additional water mega-installations are also being built alongside other solar-powered water boreholes, ”he said.

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