Open Defecation Free: UNICEF Appeals To Kaduna State To Setup Sustainability Mechanism

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UNICEF


By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna


Following the official declaration of Jaba Local Government of Kaduna State, Open Defecation Free (ODF), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has appealed to the state government to set up a mechanism of sustainability and ensure other LGAs are also declared ODF.
Dr. Zakari Adam, Chief Of FieldOffice, UNICEF Field Office Kaduna, made the appeal on Tuesday, in Kwoi, during the celebration of Jaba LG status as ODF.
Represented by Mrs. Theresa Pamma, UNICEF Kaduna WASH Specialist, Dr. Adam, urged the government to “put in place a sustainable system for release of operational funds to WASH Departments in the LGAs for monitoring the implementation of Community Action Plans (CAPs) among others.
“Improving sanitation in Kaduna State is crucial to making progress in health, education, development and general wellbeing of the people because poor sanitation significantly increases the risk of infection, complications and recycle poverty.
“I wish to use this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to make significant efforts to ensure that Kaduna becomes the first State to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Nigeria.”
He disclosed that, “the latest data on Sanitation for Kaduna State shows that the coverage has improved from 29.4% (MICS 2017) to 55% (WASHNORM, 2019) and Open Defecation has reduced from 10 to 9% between 2018 to 2019. 
“Using the 2020 projected population figures, this data implies that; Over five million people in the State have and utilize sanitary toilets that do not encourage the breeding of vehicles of disease transmission such as; flies, cockroaches and rodents. 
“Also, this category of latrines/toilets reduce faecal contamination, do not smell,can be easily washed and kept clean always.
“Over three million people are using traditional pit latrines thatcannot be washed, promote contamination, smell, discourage users, 825, 856 people are still practicing Open Defecation.”
Dr. Adam, further explained that “lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities is the root cause of issues such as diseases, malnutrition and poverty. Poor sanitation hinders development at same time, worsens health inequalities and promotes poverty. 
“Adequate sanitation and hygiene enhance the life prospects of people by reducing their vulnerability and exposure to infections. One of the largest obstacles to attaining LGA-wide ODF status in Kaduna State, is the lack of payment of operational funds by LGAs and weak commitment. This makes it very difficult to mobilize communities and organize efforts. Investing in sanitation, is crucial for development and growth in the future.”
The CoF, said, he believe the attainment of Open Defecation Free status by Jaba LGA will open the gate for other LGAs to follow, adding “this occasion highlights the importance of preventive care and underscores the need for elimination of open defecation in our society.
The State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe, in remark, had pledge the government’s commitment at ensuring the entire state attains ODF status before the 2025 target.

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