The Federal Government on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT), called for more innovative ideas and partnerships to scale up sanitation and hygiene in the country.
This was the focus at the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS) meeting, a coalition of stakeholders working in the water and sanitation sector in Abuja, where Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu, said that the role of innovation could not be overlooked, following recommendations from all experts as a necessity to changing poor narratives in the sector.
While commending NTGS members for their tenacity in validating former open defecation communities to become open defecation-free, Mr. Adamu, however, urged them to be steadfast and credible in their efforts.
Efforts, according to him, are on to introduce the School, Health and Youth Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme through their parent ministries so as to scale up sanitation in the country.
Adamu disclosed that findings from the WASH Normal Routine mapping showed low progress on defecation-free local government areas.
He posited that, with collective efforts, the negative indices would be reversed, for the overall good of the country.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator, Clean Nigeria Campaign Secretariat, Mrs. Chizoma Opara, said that efforts were on to train information officers on its activities in order to promote awareness among the populace.
Opara disclosed that Nasarawa State, Noth-Central Nigeria, has shown major progress in the implementation of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Plus programme, with, according to her, 11 local government areas currently being supported.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Chief of WASH, Dr. Jane Bevan, said that there was need for introduction of subsidies for most vulnerable persons in communities, so as to improve their wellbeing.
According to Bevan, this could be introduced during the triggering stages of CLTS processes in the communities.
“We are thinking about introducing subsidies to encourage vulnerable people to build their toilets, we are working to do this through introduction of loans in Bauchi and Oyo states,” she said.
Highlight of the meeting was the introduction of new consultants to work on the development of a National Social and Behavior Change Communication Strategy and a Strategy for Scaling Up Sanitation Market in some states.
Notably, poor sanitation is costing Nigeria about $3 billion annually, or 1.3 per cent of her gross domestic product (GDP) in productivity losses, deaths and healthcare costs.
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