Expert tasks govt on water hygiene, sanitation

A Medical Researcher, Dr Bamidele Iwalokun, has urged government at all levels to provide and enforce compliance with enabling acts on water hygiene and sanitation to prevent water borne diseases in the country.

Iwalokun, who is also the Head, Immunology and Vaccinology Research Department, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Lagos.

He said the enforcement of water hygiene and sanitation laws would go a long way in protecting people living in residential areas whose wells and boreholes were close to cemeteries and latrines.

“Policy on assessment of the water quality of wells and boreholes should be enacted but not at prohibited fee.

“Water borne disease which comes from contaminated water or food made from contaminated water consumed by man or through body contact.

“Water borne diseases are caused by germs such as bacteria, protozoans, viruses and worms,” Iwalokun said.

The expert said other causes of water borne disease were chemicals in water such as lead, arsenic, fluoride, nitrates and other dissolved solids.

He also said water borne diseases were in different categories such as cholera, typhoid fever, shigella dysentery, coli diarrhea, hepatitis A and E and schistosomiasis.

He said another category of the disease was lead poisoning, which was of great public health importance, especially in mining areas such was experienced in Zamfara in 2011.

According to the researcher, the impact of these diseases is huge in Nigeria in terms of the number of people infected every year and the number of people disabled and killed by these diseases.

“To be specific, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) diarrhea and cholera kills 150,000 Nigerian children yearly.

“It occurs with a prevalence of 18.8 per cent and accounts for 16 per cent of total child death in the country.

“We should also know diarrhea and cholera are linked to malnutrition and about 30 per cent of Nigerian children are underweight and about 32 per cent are stunted.

“Also schistosomiasis currently affects 26 million Nigerians. It causes passing of blood in the urine and damage to the bladder in both males and female children.

“The infection can affected between 9 and 70 per cent of a Nigerian riverine or water irrigation project affiliated community,” said Iwalokun.

He said the two principal factors responsible for water borne diseases in Nigeria were lack of access to see water and poor sanitation.

“About 90 million Nigerians lack access to safe water, given our current population of 181 million, this translates to 50 per cent.

“Good sanitation coverage is also very low in Nigeria. It ranges from 15 to 80 per cent depending on the area.

“The major contaminants of our underground water now come from latrines built close to these boreholes, runoffs from landfill areas and well near cemeteries.

“Rapid urbanisation due to mass rural to urban migration to unplanned settlements in the cities called slums has added to water hygiene and sanitation problem in the country.

“In the slums, people defecate and urinate on open space or makeshift toilets and latrines uncontrollably which results to poor sanitation,” Iwalokun said.

He called on governments to provide less expensive water treatment technology to be used at homes for treatment of contaminated water.

“Water borne diseases can be prevented by provision of good technology, prevention and protection.

“Cholera vaccine and rotavirus vaccines are urgently needed in Nigeria to be able to control the yearly cholera and rotavirus diarrhea outbreaks in the country.

“Sites for clinical trials for these vaccines should be provided with efforts from all relevant agencies in the country.

“Hand washing as hand hygiene should be promoted through awareness creation and provision of hand sanitisers in public toilet facilities in the country,” Iwalokun said. (NAN)

– Aug. 22, 2018 @ 15:20 GMT |

Kogi: Catholic Church trains 130 community leaders on improved water supply, sanitation

THE Catholic Diocese of Lokoja has trained 130 community leaders on how to improve water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure in their various communities.

Rev. Fr. Leonard Odomeja, the Coordinator of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) JDPC in the diocese, disclosed this in a statement he issued in Lokoja on Wednesday.

He said that the JDPC, an agency of the church, conducted the training sessions for the community leaders in Lokoja, Idah Ayangba between June 18 and June 25, 2018.

He said that the participants included traditional rulers, youth leaders, women and representatives of socio-cultural groups.

The priest said that the leaders were trained on how to engage duty-bearers and philanthropic organisations on ways of improving water, sanitation and hygiene in their communities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that duty-bearers are those actors who have a particular obligation or responsibility to respect, promote and realise human rights and to abstain from human rights violations.

The JDPC’s coordinator said that the participants were drawn from 13 communities spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.

Odomeja said that the commission organised the training in furtherance of its 2018 Legislative Advocacy Project being implemented in Ege, Idoji, Adogo, Obangede and Idah.

He listed other communities benefiting from the project to include: Ankpa, Ayingba, Ejule, Agaliga, Adankolo, Kabawa, Felele and Sarki Noma.

He said they were selected from Kogi Central, Kogi East and Kogi West Senatorial Districts

According to him, the training is an intervention designed to equip the communities on how to write and present charter of demands to duty-bearers.

He said that the trainings covered areas such as objective of citizens’ charter of demands, good practice of citizens’ charter and steps in formulating citizens’ charter.

He said that the participants were also trained on contents of a charter and the fundamentals of a good charter of demand.

The coordinator said that the trainings were important parts of legislative advocacy project being implemented in the benefitting communities.

He said that the JDPC was impressed that the participants were able to realise that there was the need to logically engage their duty bearers after the training.

“They also expressed their readiness to begin to engage their representatives at various levels and those seeking their votes into various elective offices, “the statement said.

The JDPC said that it would look into the possibility of extending the training to some other communities in the state as recommended by the participants.

The JDPC in the statement also appealed to the Kogi State Government to expedite actions on the ongoing rehabilitation of water projects in Okene, Lokoja and some other communities.

The coordinator said that the JDPC team visited the project site of the Okene Water Works which was inaugurated by the state government on April 7, 2018.

Odomeja said that the team was also at the Ministry of Water Resources where it gathered that contractors would soon be mobilised to return to site.

“When it commences work on the old Okene Water Works, it  will reticulate the  Lokoja Water to Felele and Sarki Noma communities in Lokoja,” the statement quoted Odomeja as saying. (NAN)

– Jun. 27, 2018 @ 14:15 GMT |

Sanitation, personal hygiene key to child devt – UNICEF

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 |

U-Report in Nigeria Hits 529197 Users


MORE than half a million people in Nigeria are now using the U-Report initiative by UNICEF to get information on health related issues while the global record is now one million.

U-Report, UNICEF’s groundbreaking, text-message based innovation that amplifies the voices and views of young people in developing countries, has reached 1 million active users globally.

In Nigeria, the U-Report recorded 529,197 users. U-Report has been engaging with Nigerians on issues such as early marriage, water and sanitation, and safety in schools. During the Ebola outbreak last year, U-Report was used to spread information that helped to dispel rumors and increase the community’s awareness during the response.

U-Report is reaching young people through the National Youth Service Corps, as well as community based organisations and the media; by the end of this year, UNICEF’s U-Report platform aims to have at least one million responders in Nigeria. With the new government and its call for accountability and community engagement, U-Report is an opportunity to contribute towards nation building in Nigeria. As the number of U-Reporters increases in Nigeria, UNICEF and other U-Report partners will be engaging with political leaders and decision makers, up to the highest level.

U-Report also has very practical applications. In three states – FCT, Niger and Nasarawa, U-Report is testing a system to gather information about immunisation stocks and equipment at health facilities. Through the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, health workers are asked simple questions about whether there are sufficient vaccines in stock to last through the next week and whether the refrigerators used to store the vaccines to keep them safe and effective are running at the correct temperatures. This is an efficient way of keeping track of critical and life-saving information and the pilot will soon be expanded.

According to United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, thanks to the participation and support of telecommunications companies, it is completely free to take part in U-Report.

U-Report started out as a local innovation to help young Ugandans engage on issues that affect their lives and futures. Today, young U-reporters from 15 countries, mostly in Africa, are using it every day to voice their opinions, connect to their leaders, and help change the conditions in their communities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

To become a U-Reporter, users equipped with even basic mobile phones text the word “join” to a toll-free short-code. Within moments, they can share their opinions on everything from the job skills they want to the best way to tackle epidemics. This information is instantly mapped and analyzed, yielding vital information and real-time insights about how young people see their world and what they think is most important. In turn, these aggregated views are used by development partners in their advocacy with governments — and even shared directly with elected leaders.

For example, every Member of Parliament in Uganda has signed up for U-Report to monitor and respond to what young people in their districts are saying about key issues. Some leaders have used it to strengthen immunization and other health campaigns.

“U-Report is an entirely new model for engaging young people, empowering communities, and holding governments more accountable,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, where the platform is helping UNICEF workers share critical information about Ebola, polio, and newborn care with families living in remote areas that health workers cannot easily reach.

More young people in a growing number of countries are joining U-Report every month, and UNICEF is working to scale up this and other innovations to reach the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

— Aug 3, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT