Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has organised a media dialogue on the 2023 World Toilet Day to emphasise on the need for access to good toilets nationwide, saying poor hygiene practice surrounding the use of toilets is one of the common causes of diseases in the country.
The World Toilet Day is observed on November 19 of every year to create awareness on the need of having and using toilets as well as giving the people access to safely manage sanitation facilities.
The event with this year’s campaign theme: ‘Accelerating Change: Taking Simple Actions To Bring About Change’, is organised by UNICEF Bauchi Field Office in collaboration with the Bauchi State Ministry of Water Resources and Bauchi State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA).
And this is all about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: Sanitation and Water for all by 2030.
In his opening remarks during the celebration held at Jamil Hotel, Azare, in open defecation-free validated Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State, the Officer-in-Charge/Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, Dr. Clement Adams, said 48 million Nigerians in the country still practice open defecation, stressing that stakeholders in the WASH sector of the country needs to redouble their efforts in ensuring that defecating in the open is reduced to the barest minimum.
According to him, “The World Toilet Day is celebrated every year to bring attention to the undeniable importance of safe and hygienic toilets in our daily lives, especially in terms of health, education and of course, socio-economic development.
“This year, the WTD has the theme: ‘Accelerating Change’, to highlight the journey towards achieving SDG 6- Clean Water and Sanitation. We are about seven years away from 2030-the global target for the SDGs. We must therefore reinvigorate our efforts if we must meet the sanitation target of SDG 6–safe toilets and water for all by 2030.
“The access to safe and clean toilets prevents the spread of diseases; the access to safe toilet means children, especially girls, and women are protected from the risks of attacks and abuse if they had to go into bushes to defecate; access to basic WASH services is integral to school enrolment, attendance, retention, and completion–the benefits are numerous.”
Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Alhaji Abdulrazak Nuhu Zaki, said the state government is determined to work for the actualisation of SDG 6.2 target, and the attainment of state-wide ODF by 2025, adding that the state government delivered eight local government as Local Government Open Defecation Free to include Dass, Warji, Shira, Gamawa, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Toro and Katagum.
He said: “5,934 communities were delivered ODF while two other LGAs were at different levels of becoming ODF–that is Bauchi and Zaki LGAS. One of the sustainability process is the training of private entrepreneurs on sanitation marketing for improved latrine construction at household and public places like markets and motor parks, where 194 toilets business owners, (TBOs), 582 masons, and 116 toilet.
“Awareness was created through promotional activities by the government and toilet business owners on the need of improving latrine uptake, and there is high demand for improved latrine by household, however, inadequate fund from household and TBOS has become a bottleneck.”