THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has identified access to clean drinking water, proper sanitation and personal hygiene as crucial to child’s development.
Mr Zaid Jurji, UNICEF’s Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), said this on Tuesday at a two-day Media Dialogue on Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Project, Phase III, in Jos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum was organised in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, and supported by the European Union (EU).
According to Jurji, goal six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) emphasised the importance of access to water and safe environment to the survival of children.
“Safe and clean water is essential to the survival and development of children and without it they simply cannot stay alive and remain healthy in the society.
“Open defecation is increasingly dangerous and can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, diarrhoea and under nutrition in children.
“Personal hygiene like proper hand washing can stem the continue spread of these diseases among children in the society.
“So, we must double our current effort in order to end open defecation, ensure access to clean water and a safe environment for children by 2030,” he said.
Earlier, Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju, Deputy Director, Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, said the workshop was timely.
He said sharing of information and experiences on issues of water, sanitation and hygiene could not be overemphasised as it would boost health services across the country.
“As journalists being presented with data on the status of sanitation and hygiene situation in Nigeria with particular reference to child development, I enjoin you to use your various medium to educate and create more awareness on the subject matter.
“I also urge you to hold government accountable to its responsibility to leverage on more resources for water, sanitation and hygiene for the betterment of children and women,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Drissa Yeo, UNICEF WASH Specialist, Bauchi Field Office, who noted that so far three local governments areas have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) across the country and described the number as unhealthy for the nation.
Yeo listed Dass, Warji and Obalinku in Cross River and Bauchi states as being ODF, saying more local governments ought to follow suit to ensure healthy lives of citizens.
He stressed the need for advocacy and behavioural change to sustain communities that have been declared ODF to avoid relapsing. (NAN)
– Mar. 13, 2018 @ 14:55 GMT |