In commemoration of the 2021 World Toilet Day, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says from 2018 to date it has supported state governments under its humanitarian intervention in the north-east with the construction of 4,752 and rehabilitation of 2,976 toilets for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and others respectively across IDP camps and communities.
“About 200 sites have been supported with hand pump boreholes while 126,690 non-food items have been distributed to displaced and vulnerable families.”
Dr Clement Adams, Officer-in-Charge UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Borno State, revealed today at a Media Orientation Programme to commemorate the 2021 World Toilet Day in Maiduguri.
According to him, UNICEF has built capacities of state departments and LGAs to deliver safe and sustainable WASH services to communities and IDPs UNICEF has also supported Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states to undertake rapid response to cholera outbreaks.
He explained: “At a time when the Federal Government has made a call to make the country open defecation free through the nationwide Clean Nigeria Campaign, it’s important that all states adopt this in a mission mode, to become open defecation free by 2025.
“Practical steps towards ending open defecation by constructing more toilets and water sources, especially among the most vulnerable population whether in camps or host communities need to be pursued Schools, markets and other public places must not be left out even as we promote behavioural change among the people.
“National and state budgets must reflect the importance of toilets and water sources to the health of children and workforce We must prioritise investments in physical and human resources and scale up existing programmes targeting expansion of toilet and water services.”
The UNICEF officer added that “with this programme, I trust that the media will take the urgency of the moment forward. We must put our money where our mouth is. It is more cost-effective to construct more toilets for conflict-affected people than to treat endless flares of cholera outbreaks with unnecessary mortalities.
“Inability to access toilets is costly. It robs children of their health. When people die of cholera complications, children are sadly stripped of parental care and the most basic protection.”
He maintained: “UNICEF will continue to work with state governments and RUWASSA in the north-east to promote the wellbeing of conflict-affected people and safeguard the rights of conflict-affected children to life and good health.
“Across the north-east, UNICEF will continue to advocate for one more toilet and borehole until every IDP camp, home, school and market have adequate sanitation and hygiene and facilities that safeguard the wellbeing of all.”