Stop Open Defecation, Indiscriminate Refuse Dump, Lagos Govt Tells Residents

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Martins Ifijeh

In a bid to tackle cholera, diarrhea and other water borne diseases in Lagos State, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, has called on residents to stop open defecation, dumping of refuse in drainages and stop other lifestyle dangerous to healthy living.

Speaking during the Lagos State End of Programme Dissemination of the Partnership for Transforming Health System Phase II (PATHS 2), he said efforts to ensure a healthy Lagos must be collaborative between the residents and the government, adding that when Lagosians adopt personal and environmental hygiene, the efforts of the government will yield more productive results.

“As a government, I know we have a lot of role to play in the state’s health sector, and we are trying our best, but the people themselves have a role to play. For instance, we are talking about environmental sanitation and if the government is trying its best to ensure all drainages are well kept and people continue to dump waste in them, our collective aim may not be achieved.”

He appealed to residents to compliment government’s efforts by imbibing proper personal and environmental hygiene. This, he said can curb cholera, diarrhea and other water borne diseases in the state.

He also commended PATHS 2 for their role in reducing maternal and child mortality in the State. “I see Paths2 as a partner, and in respect to maternal and child health, they have done wonderfully well supporting us as a state government,” he said.

Idris called on pregnant women to take their health seriously, adding that every pregnant woman should visit the hospital regularly. “Pregnant women should ensure they attend antenatal care frequently because that is the only time the status of the pregnancy can be assessed properly,” he said.

Lending his voice, the National Programme Manager, PATHS 2, Dr. Mike Egboh said there were preventive measures against cholera, only if they were adhered to, noting that, prevention was usually the cheapest way out.

“Cholera for instance is spread through water and food. But the question is do we really have the health system that will contain everybody. In Lagos, about 22 million people drink from the same water source, and the health centres we have cannot cope with that. What is important is that community mobilisation is done so that people, comprising the traditional, religious and political institutions are all mobilised to do what is needed to be done, which is by providing water, ensuring that the provided water is purified, ensure the drains are clean, among others,” he added.

On the claims that PATHS2 was winding up, Egboh said PATHS2 was just a programme which seems winding up but the legacies it has laid down can never wind up.“The health system is a programme and we were never the implementers of the program. We were just facilitators, nurses and doctors that have been trained and are on ground to continue the initiative,” he said.