WaterAid has attributed 16 per cent of child deaths in Nigeria to prevalence of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)-related sicknesses caused by lack of access to WASH facilities.
WaterAid made this known in its reports titled: “An Approach to Sanitation Marketing”, made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, April 18, 2019 in Abuja.
The report described as “enormous” the need for a decent sanitation in Nigeria, especially in rural areas.
It said that in 2015, global monitoring estimates revealed that national access to basic sanitation in Nigeria was 33 per cent, while rural areas were estimated to have had only 27 per cent access to basic sanitation.
WaterAid report identified lack of affordable household sanitation facilities as a major challenge facing Nigerians in the rural areas as a result of which open defecation was persistent.
The NGO said that if affordable sanitation facilities were readily available in virtually all local markets, they would go a long way to discouraging the habit of open defecation.
It said it had devised a new strategy called “Sanitation Marketing (SanMark)” geared toward ensuring that Nigeria attained open-defecation-free status.
According to the report, WaterAid has previously worked on a programme called “Sustainable Total Sanitation (STS)” aimed at eradicating open defecation in Ekiti, Enugu and Jigawa, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Ensuring that affordable household sanitation products are available in local markets is a key challenge for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Nigeria.
“SanMark addresses demand and supply together to increase uptake and use of improved toilets that are durable, hygienic, available and inspirational.
“While there is still much to learn about how to tackle Nigeria’s sanitation crisis, WaterAid hopes that the lesson identified through its SanMark initiative will help inform Nigeria’s WASH sector,” it said.
The initiative, WaterAid said, would contribute toward achieving and sustaining the national target of 100 per cent sanitation access by 2025.
By Okon Okon