By; Ishola O. Emmanuel, Osogbo.
The European Union and United Nations International and Emergency Fund have said no fewer than 663 million people have no access to clean water across the world.
Osun state UNICEF/Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Consultant, Olowole Modekai said 2.4 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation while 946 million people defecate in the open.
Modekai, who spoke at a Two Day Workshop on WASH Capacity Building Media Network in Osun held at Timsed Hotel, Ijebu –Jesa during the weekend, revealed that nine out of ten of the people defecating in the open live in rural areas.
He said there were nearly 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea diseases every year and about 800,000 children died as a result of lack of clean water, improved sanitation and open defecation.
The WASH Consultant said one of the specific goals of the WASH was to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all in the current SDGs.
Speaking on the effort of the UNICEF in Osun State, Modekai said no fewer than 103 rural communities are now free from open defecation through the implementation of Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Projects in the state.
Modekai said out of the 304 trigger communities, 50 are also approaching the status of open defecation representing 50 percent of all rural communities engaging in open defecation in the state.
According to him, 215 water facilities have been completed out of 259 awarded through the collaboration of state government, Rural and Water Environmental Sanitation Agency (RUWESA) and EU/UNICEF to ensure equitable access to water supply for 65,500 people in the state especially the rural areas.
He said 2,387 improved latrine have been constructed in Osun and 4,800 school children are having equitable access to hygienic water adding that the target of Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Programme (WASSSRP) is to ensure that 120,000 people in the state have equitable access to water supply in 2017.
The UNICEF consultant explained further that 7,515 are engaging in open defecation in virtually all houses in the two focal local governments; Ayedaade and Odo-otin where WASH programmes is currently ongoing have constructed household latrine.
Also speaking, Director Sanitation and Health, RUWESA, Segun Moyinoluwa said the state was able to achieve the feat with the commitment of the State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola prompt payment of counterpart funds to the partnering international organizations.
Moyinoluwa who commended Aregbesola for giving priority to healthy living of the people of the state, further explained that Osun government 100 per cent of the counterpart contribution in the WASH never failed despite the nation’s economy.
He said the involvement of the state government in WASH is in fulfillment of Governor Aregbesola plans to promote healthy living in the state.
Through the WASH and other interventions according to Moyinoluwa, the 1,000 boreholes have been provided in 800 rural and urban communities with the assistance of EU/UNICEF and other partners which have significantly reduced water related diseases and promote sanitation and hygiene in the state.
He added that the agency programme has increased school enrolments, enhanced human dignity with the prevention of open defecation and provided opportunities for the remotest rural areas to have access to drinkable water in Osun state.
Enumerating some of the benefits of WASH intervention programme, Moyinoluwa said that the programme has drastically reduce faecoral diseases prevalence just as it has helped in the reduction of poverty that may likely be through the outbreak of diseases.
The workshop was intended to establish media network and partnership in communicating water sanitation and hygiene to the public.
The two day workshop was attended by the representatives of media houses in Osun.
663 million lack access to clean water – UNICEF
By; Ishola O. Emmanuel, Osogbo.