The Water Supply and
Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) has urged the Federal Government to put policies in place to enable its citizens take ownership of sanitation and hygiene in their locality.
WSSCC Programme Support Officer, Matilda Jerneck , told newsmen in Abuja, recently, that this was necessary to scale up access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
She said development partners alone would not be able to drive the change.
According to her, they can only act as catalysts for scaling up sanitation and thereby reduce the number of persons dying from water -borne diseases in the country.
She said the country could not achieve much in terms of scaling up sanitation, if it failed to put measures in place to encourage all Nigerians to making sanitation a priority.
“Nigeria needs to take ownership of scaling up its activities for water, sanitation and hygiene. It is an entry point to wider development; that is why we need to do something fast.”
According to her, no fewer than 2.5 billion persons globally, lack access to decent sanitation and more than a billion defecate in the open.
“Diarrhoeal disease, largely caused by poor sanitation and hygiene, is a leading cause of malnutrition, stunting and child mortality, claiming nearly 600,000 under-five lives every year.
“Inadequate facilities also affect education and economic productivity and impact the dignity and personal safety of women and girls.”
Jerneck said that the WSSCC, through the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) works through behavioural activities to help large numbers of poor people in the hardest-to-reach areas attain safe sanitation and adopt good hygiene practices.
These activities, she said, were community-led, support national efforts, which brought together a diverse group of stakeholders to address, at a large scale, the severe deficiencies in access to sanitation and hygiene.
On the outcome of the recently concluded mission visit to GSF-supported states of Benue and Cross River, Jerneck said there was the need for such states to pay up counterpart funds to scale up hygiene and sanitation.
She said the GSF, between 2013 and 2014 alone, reported an almost 90 per cent increase in the number of people living in open-defecation free environment in 13 countries across Africa and Asia.
Meanwhile, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, the GSF National Programme Officer, also told NAN that since the beginning of the programme, 340,000 communities in six local government areas in Benue and Cross River had stopped open defecation.
He said through the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) Programme of the GSF, no fewer than 741 communities, had been triggered on Community-Led Total Sanitation practices.
Chuktu said there was the need for more commitment from all stakeholders to carry out monitoring in sustaining achievement recorded in reducing open defecation.
The Water Supply and