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21% Bauchi population practice open defecation, 72% schools, 93% healthcare facilities, 97% public places lacked access to basic WASH facilities – Coalition  

Chairman, BASNEC, Jinjiri J. Garba

By Akanji Alowolodu, Bauchi 

Bauchi State Network of Civil Society Coalition (BASNEC) has declared that statistics available have it that 21% of the Bauchi State Population still practice open defecation. 

Also, 72% of the total number of schools, 93% of the total number of heathcare facilities and 97% of public places do not have access to basic WASH facilities according to WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (NORM) 2021. 

The declaration was made by the Chairman of Bauchi State Network of of Civil Society Organizations (BASNEC), Jinjiri J. Garba while addressing a press conference at the NUJ Press Center, Bauchi on Friday to commemorate the World Toilet Day 2023. 

He said that the pres conference was in recognition of the progress of WaterAid Nigeria and partners towards achieving safer water communities, decent toilets and motivating communities through Hygiene Behaviour Change Campaigns towards achieving an open defecation state and Nation by 2025.

He stressed that despite evidence of the effectiveness of good hygiene practice as the first line of defence in the prevention of infectious diseases, about 60 million people in Nigeria lack access to basic water supply while 167 million people lack basic Handwashing facilities and 48 million still practice open defecation.

Jinjiri added that Globally, 70,000 children under 5 die every year from diseases caused by lack of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene services saying that these statistics remain alarming as Nigeria still remains distant from achieving the SDGs 6 goal, ensuring universal access to basic lifesaving services.

According to him, WaterAid Nigeria in partnership with Women Development Association for Self- Sustenance (WODASS) and the Bauchi state Government’s overall goal is to influence, deliver and scale-up WASH solutions that are sustainable, climate-resilient, gender- responsive and address key cross-cutting elements of other development goals including health, education, poverty, economic growth, and nutrition.

He stressed that, “By 2028, our ambition is to reach 10,000,000 people directly through our interventions with basic WASH services and behaviours. Working collaboratively with the government of Nigeria and other key partners in development, media, academia, private sector, and civil society space, we further seek to influence improved basic WASH access for 17,000,000 more people. (WaterAid)”

He further explained that WaterAid Nigeria is implementing Armani Beauty, L’Oreal Luxe Germany towards providing Water and Hygiene Promotion Project (WAHPP) in Bauchi state. 

The project is designed to provide clean water and implement hygiene promotion activities in Bauchi state specifically targeting at least 30 water scarce communities in the State with limited access to clean water and poor hygiene practices as well as provide access to safe water and hygiene education to 15,000 beneficiaries in 10 target communities within Bauchi state.

In commemoration of the World Toilet Day 2023, WaterAid in partnership with Women Development Association (WODASS) is investing in the advocacy component of the Amarni project to advocate to Bauchi Stakeholders on the need to prioritize the provision of safe water, improving hygiene and ending sanitation crises especially the use and construction of decent toilets to improve on livelihood of the citizens of Bauchi state of which has impact on health, education and other multi sectors of value in the state.

The project is in the process of providing water facilities in 15 communities of Tafawa Balewa LGA in the first phase, another 15 will be drilled in the second phase of the project next year with a target to ensure that critical communities without access are reached. 

The process also includes triggering of communities through Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTs), Hygiene Behaviour Change (HBC), Formation of WASHcoms and training of Volunteer Hygiene Promotors. 

All these is to contribute to Bauchi State efforts towards attaining Open Defecation Status by 2025. So far Communities of Tapshin, Lere, Rugan Gambo, Luje and Murantang has improved on the prioritization of construction and use of improved toilets and utilization of handwashing facilities which has positive impacts in their lives and have reduced the menace of spread of infectious diseases. 

Right now, there are 3.5 billion people still living without safe toilets, 419 million people still practise ‘open defecation’. In these situations, diseases spread, killing 1,000 children under-five every single day. This global crisis poses a threat to nature and everyone’s health, particularly women, girls, and other vulnerable groups.

“Your actions- however small will help improve toilets and sanitation systems and protect nature. We are now counting down to 2030, with just seven years left to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) safe toilets and water for all by 2030. Today, the world is seriously off track. We need to work five times faster on sanitation,” he stressed.

He further said that the World Toilet Day 2023 is about accelerating change by doing whatever you can. Take action today, learn about the issues and share the campaign with your networks.

BASNEC therefore recommended that on World Toilet Day, there should be encouragement of everyone to choose sanitation related actions to speed up progress on this part of SDGs 6 and break taboos: Talk about the critical connection between toilets, water and menstruation. 

There should also be Flush safe by Fixing leaking water and waste pipes, empty full septic tanks and report dumping of sludge, stop polluting: Don’t put food waste, oils, medicines and chemicals down the toilet or drains and build pressure: Write to elected representatives about budgets for improving water and sanitation at home, LGA, state and abroad.

BASNEC however commended the efforts of Bauchi State Government in supporting RUWASSA and other relevant stakeholders in ensuring that 8 LGAs in the state have been validated and certified open defecation free (ODF). 

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