Kaduna State Government has declared a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, to enable it attain the national goal of making Nigeria Open Defecation Free (ODF) by the year 2025.
In a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, the government also noted that the state of emergency will enable the state to build on the success of the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN II) programme.
The Special Adviser said that significant progress is being recorded in ridding the state of open defecation, adding that ‘’Jaba Local Government Area has been validated by UNICEF as having attained ODF status.’’
‘’As at May 2020, 2,269 communities in the state have attained UNICEF ODF status. This was achieved through the implementation of relevant WASH projects and consistent sensitisation of communities. Steps are being taken to achieve state-wide ODF status across the 23 local government areas,‘’ he said.
According to Adekeye, ‘’the state government places priority on the provision of clean and safe water and promotion of basic hygiene. These are central to delivering quality health care and life expectancy which are important human development indices.
‘’Also, water and sanitation are very critical in preventing killer diseases like cholera, Lassa fever and typhoid, as well as Covid-19,’’ the statement noted.
The Special Adviser disclosed that the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) rehabilitated 110 boreholes across Kaduna State in 2019, with funding from UNICEF.
‘’By May 2020, RUWASSA has rehabilitated another 216 bore holes in various communities across the state. In addition, local artisans were trained and provided with tool kits to assure future repairs of the boreholes, enhance community participation and ownership as well as the sustainability of the installations,’’ he added.
The statement promised that Kaduna State Government will continue to invest in human and material resources to eliminate open defecation.
Adekeye who noted with gratitude UNICEF’s role in helping Kaduna state to achieve ODF status, added that the UN body has been a very supportive ally in that effort.
The Special Adviser further said that ‘’Kaduna State looks forward to building on the gains of the SHAWN II programme and attaining a vital sustainable development goal.’’