Statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the 2015 report of the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), show that approximately 2.4 billion people live in poor sanitary conditions and one in every 10 people has no choice but to defecate in the open. Nigeria ranks fifth in the world among countries where open defecation is still a major problem.
Accordingly, a large number of women and children in Nigeria are exposed to the risk of contracting infections due to unhygienic and poor sanitary conditions.
As part of efforts to contribute towards reducing the menace in the country, Harpic, a toilet cleaning brand from RB and Lagos State Ministry of Environment have called on Lagosians to imbibe the culture of good public hygiene and improved general sanitation conditions in and around their environments.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the World Toilet Day, the Managing Director, RB West Africa,Mr. Rahul Murgai, said there was need to create scaled national awareness around the current national sanitation situation and core issues like open defecation that lead to diarrhoea and other potential health issues.
He stated that individual and collective participation from like-minded players will strongly support the programme and efforts of the federal and state government in improving the general health, hygiene and sanitation conditions in Nigeria.
On his part, theCommissioner for Environment, Lagos State, Dr. Samuel Babatunde Adejare, said public awareness and the recent renovation of public toilets with support from Harpic was another step taken in the right direction to tackle the scourge.
He encouraged greater partnership with the private and public sector to further accelerate the current efforts.
Speaking further at the event, Marketing Manager Harpic,Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola, stated that Harpic’s toilet hygiene programme in Nigeria was a scaled initiative across 16 cities and reaches over one million homes annually to educate consumers about the importance of good toilet hygiene, maintaining clean toilets in their homes to prevent illnesses and request for their larger societal support in bringing a behavioural change to tackle the menace of open defecation.
Present at the event were notable dignitaries from the Lagos State Government, Honourable Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Heads of Government agencies and key executives from RB, makers of Dettol, Mortein, Harpic, Airwick, Durex, Nurofen and Gaviscon, among others.