Home News FG adopts strategy to curb cholera spread, end open defecation

FG adopts strategy to curb cholera spread, end open defecation

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ABUJA- The Federal Government has adopted a strategy to combat the spread of cholera by tackling its root causes, including open defecation.

Vice-President Kashim Shettima made this known while inaugurating the Steering Committee for the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.

Shettima restated the commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration to end open defecation by 2025.

He said that ending open defecation could be achieved by mobilising strategic stakeholders, leveraging technology as well as deploying innovative and sustainable solutions to boost the nation’s sanitation landscape.

The Vice-President underscored the significance of hygiene, health, and its impact on development and wealth.

Shettima urged the committee to align with broader government priorities and interventions in areas such as poverty reduction, education, and economic growth.

He said the recently reported cases of cholera in the country should serve as sufficient motivation for the committee to work harder.

He directed members of the committee to craft solutions to handle wastewater management, contaminated water sources, and open defecation across the country.

Shettima also expressed confidence that members of the team “will commit to research-driven approaches in our bids to deliver on our promise to make the nation clean.

“We are well aware that achieving this objective begins with our collective resolve to embrace behavioral change and cultivate a lifestyle that prioritises proper sanitation practices, hygiene education, and community engagement.”

He stressed that the goals and aspirations of the country could be best achieved by harnessing the resources available in the public and private sectors, especially by carrying out innovative research.

“The public sector cannot succeed in this campaign unless we engage and encourage private sector participation and invite innovative and sustainable solutions.

“We must partner by utilising technology for real-time monitoring, data collection, and impact assessment while recognising the role of youth and women in driving change.”

Aside from its core mandate, Shettima tasked the committee to be vigilant in its assignment, especially “as we develop solutions to the devastations of climate change, urbanisation, and population growth.

“We have become ambassadors of a cause that seeks to restore the health and dignity of our people.”

Earlier, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, recalled that in the bid to tackle the cholera epidemic, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), recently inaugurated a cabinet committee to deal with the issue.

He explained that the cabinet committee comprises Water, Education, Environment, Aviation, and almost all the relevant ministries.

“Open defecation is part of the drivers of this cholera outbreak that we are seeing. But we also have a good example of a sub-national unit doing very well in Jigawa State, which has been declared open defecation-free.

“That is a good example showing that sub-national units can help us address this issue.

“So, we really appreciate your leadership and commit ourselves to supporting this effort so that we can end open defecation in Nigeria.”

While presenting report on ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign’, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, said the report covers both challenges and successes since its establishment in 2016.

He recalled that it was inaugurated and signed into law in 2019.

According to him, the campaign is a transformative initiative to eradicate open defecation in Nigeria in 2025.

He noted that the campaign was aimed at getting all stakeholders to join and tackle open defecation which currently ranked Nigeria as the second largest country that practices open defecation in the world, next to India.

He said the 2018 Water and Sanitation Hygiene national outcome revealed that approximately 47 million Nigerians, constituting 23 per cent of the population, engaged in open defecation.

He highlighted the objectives of the campaign to include a nationwide campaign, mobilising support and resources at both the national and sub-national levels to fight the menace.

He warned that open defecation had its own economic, social, and health impact on the national outlook of the country.

He noted that in 2016, a road map was made by the previous administration and an investment of about N959 billion would be required.

“The idea was that money would be used in the construction of toilets in both the households and national levels.

“25,000 toilets would be constructed at the rural level and 50,000 toilets would be constructed at the urban level, but as of today, things have changed and a review was needed.” (NAN)

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