The Federal Government has charged the media to rise up to the propagation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to ensure healthy living for the citizenry, particularly the children.
The Deputy Director, Child Right Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju gave the charge in his opening remark at a Media Dialogue for selected journalists on Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Reform Project held in Jos, Plateau State.
Osanyinpeju noted that the overall objective of the project was to support the efforts of local and state governments, to the achievement of the water and sanitation related Sustainable Development Goals.
According to him, “As journalists, I enjoin you to use the medium at your disposal to educate the populace with the WASH situation in Nigeria with particular reference to child development, and well-being of the child. You can also hold government accountable to its responsibility to leverage more resources for Water Sanitation and Hygiene.”
“Use your ingenuity to increase the knowledge among community members, individuals and family members on the importance of WASH”, he said.
He also expressed the need for government agencies to collaborate with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and other Line Partners and Organizations to advocate on how best to address the issues of water and sanitation.
He commended the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF) and the European Union (EU) for aiding the provision of potable water and ensuring sanitation in Nigeria.
He noted that the roles of UNICEF and EU in advancing the cause of making life safe in Nigeria remained very significant and commendable.
According to him, “It is a fact that UNICEF and EU has been in the forefront of ensuring that we have access to safe drinking water supply, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene in our environment and communities.”
The Plateau state Commissioner for Water Resources and Energy, Engineer David Wuyep who declared the Media Dialogue opened also commended UNICEF for its intervention on provision of water in the state and assured that the state government will always ensure prompt payment of counterpart funds.
The UNICEF Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) said the situation of open dedication in Nigeria was worrisome and that majority of people in the Nigeria drink contaminated water.
Speaking further, Osanyinpeju said WASH remained very important in the life of a Child and significant to achieving Sustaining Development Goal 6. He noted that water is essential for the survival and development of all children.
His words: “Without water, children simply cannot stay alive or thrive in a healthy environment. Water resources, and the range of services they provide, strengthen poverty reduction, economic growth and environmental sustainability.”
“Sanitation is essential to the survival and development of children. Open defecation is incredibly dangerous, as contact with human waste can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, diarrhoea, worm infestation and under nutrition.”
Osanyinpeju expressed the need to double the current efforts on water and sanitation in order to end Open Defecation by 2030. He maintained that simple hygiene such as hand washing can save lives.
“Washing hands with soap after going to the toilet or before eating can have a significant impact on children’s health. Good hygiene practices reduce the incidence of diseases such as pneumonia, trachoma, scabies, skin and eye infections and diarrhoea-related diseases like cholera and dysentery.”
He said research has also shown that regular hand washing with soap can reduce the incidents of diarrhoea, a disease which can be deadly to children.