Abuja, 13 November 2019 - Nigeria has flagged off series of activities, including engagement with journalists, to advocate for clean toilets for all, to commemorate 2019 World Toilet Day. The theme for this year is, “leaving no one behind”, in line with current global efforts towards achieving universal access to sanitation whereby, no one left is behind.
Speaking at a Press conference in Abuja on 12 November 2019, the Minister, Federal Ministry of Environment, (FMoE), Alhaji Muhammad Mahmood said, “the Federal Government is committed to addressing the sanitation challenges, including open defecation in the country and ensuring proper management of excreta. This commitment is in line with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s declaration of a state of emergency on water, sanitation and hygiene in the country in November 2018.”
In Nigeria, an estimated 47 million people do not use toilets causing nearly 87,000 diarrheal deaths in children under the age of five. Furthermore, poor sanitation contributes to several other neglected tropical diseases (NTD) and undernutrition.
Therefore, the minister assured that, “The Ministry has provided sanitation training infrastructure by equipping the practical demonstration of facilities of colleges of Health Technology at Keffi, Nassarawa State, Kallungo in Gombe State, Kankia- Katsina State, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Ugheli, Delta State, and Umudike Abia State. We have just 11 years to go to the 2030 deadline. Let us redouble our efforts, to provide universal access to toilets, leaving no one behind.”
Among other activities slated for this year’s event, FMoE and stakeholders have organized a 10 000-man march against open defecation, community awareness campaigns and commissioning of practical demonstration facilities for the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Ibadan and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi, Anambra State.
Meanwhile, in his remarks at the media event, WHO Nigeria’s Officer in Charge (OiC), Dr Clement Peter said, “We commend the Government of Nigeria for launching the open defecation free campaign and congratulate the States that are already implementing this and making notable achievements in some local government areas”.
Represented by Dr Rex Mpazanje, the OiC requested, “Large cities like Abuja to particularly address the plight of sanitation workers; those who empty and clean our toilets, septic tanks, and sewers in our homes, offices and public places. They need protective equipment. WHO looks forward to continued collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment and other partners on improvement of sanitation so that all Nigerians have access to adequate sanitation as a human right.”
The United Nations earmarked 19 November every year as World Toilet Day to inspire collective action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 (to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).
Dr Rex Mpazanje; Email: mpanzanjer [at] who.int; Tel: +234 803 960 0874