The Kaduna State Government has declared a state of emergency on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to enhance a healthy society.
Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, Special Adviser to Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai on Media and Communication, said in a statement that the declaration was to enable the government to attain the national goal of Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025.
Adekeye stated that the state of emergency in the WASH sector would enable the state to build on the success of the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN II) programme.
According to him, significant progress is being recorded in ridding the state of open defecation.
He added that Jaba Local Government Area had been validated by UNICEF as having attained ODF status.
“As at May 2020, at least 2,269 communities in the state have attained UNICEF ODF status.
“This was achieved through the implementation of relevant WASH projects and consistent sensitisation of communities,’’ he said.
Adekeye added that steps were being taken to achieve state-wide ODF status across the 23 local government areas.
“The state government places a priority on the provision of clean and safe water and promotion of basic hygiene.
“These are central to delivering quality health care and life expectancy, which are important human development indices.
“Also, water and sanitation are very critical in preventing killer diseases like cholera, Lassa fever, typhoid, as well as COVID-19.’’
The special adviser revealed that the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) rehabilitated 110 boreholes across the state in 2019, with funding from UNICEF.
“By May 2020, RUWASSA had rehabilitated another 216 boreholes in various communities across the state.
“In addition, local artisans were trained and provided with tool kits to assure future repairs of the boreholes, enhance community participation and ownership, as well as the sustainability of the installations,’’ Adekeye said.
He said that the state government would continue to invest in human and material resources, to eliminate open defecation.
Adekeye commended UNICEF’s role in helping the state to achieve the ODF status, adding that the UN body had been a very supportive ally in that effort.
“Kaduna State looks forward to building on the gains of the SHAWN II programme and attaining a vital sustainable development goal,’’ he said.