Outlining specific responsibilities towards ending open defecation in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and its counterpart, Federal Ministry of Health, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Engr. Suleiman Adamu, The Minister of Water Resources signed the MoU together with his counterpart in the Health Ministry, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
While speaking at the programme in Abuja, Adamu said there was an urgent need to collectively change the ugly narrative of the growing mortality rate arising from Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) issues.
He expressed optimism that the initiative for collective engagement and collaboration between the ministries, when sustained, would improve access to WASH services in the country.
He said, “The issues of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are crosscutting issues that impact on different sectors including the health, education and as well as economy, among others.”
The Minister noted that the Health WASH Programme is designed to identify the WASH needs and bridge the WASH service gap across Health Care Facilities with focus on the Primary Health Care Facilities.
According to him, through the initiative, the Federal Government is leading by example in the provision of adequate WASH services to its own managed health facilities.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, said that the WASH programme has been a major game changer in the health sector, stressing that access to potable water would drastically reduce the unfortunate increasing mortality rate figures arising from poor hygiene services.
According to him, the collaboration was apt as the challenges facing the health sector are interrelated with issues of WASH services and, therefore, called for collaboration to improve the sector.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Didi Walson-Jack, explained that the collaboration between the two Ministries would help in addressing the problems of poor water sanitation and hygiene services in healthcare facilities for the general wellbeing of the populace.
According to the Global Burden of Diseases Projects, diarrhoea attributed to poor wash is more than 70 per cent and inequitably borne by poor women and children, even as she reiterated the Ministry’s commitment to achieving an open defecation-free Nigeria by 2025 as well as increasing sustainable access to basic WASH services for all Nigerians by 2030.