The Oyo State Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (Oyo RUWASSA), on Wednesday, declared that based on national statistics, 93 per cent of residents in Oyo state do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water close to their home while 83 per cent have no access to basic sanitation services and 15 per cent do not have access to clean water.
The chairman of Oyo RUWASSA, Omirinde Najeem, made this known during the launch of the Clean Family Campaign in Oyo State at the RUWASSA office in Secretariat, Ibadan, adding that lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure makes the practice of good hygiene difficult with attendant negative consequences on health, livelihoods, gender equality and socio-economic outcomes.
To mark the commencement of the Clean Family in Oyo State, the state government took the delivery of 15 permanent inclusive handwashing facility with dual access to cater for people living with disabilities, 20 permanent handwashing facility and 100 semi handwashing facility as part of the 1000 non-contact and inclusive handwashing facilities promises under the scale-up hygiene project of the WaterAid Nigeria and its local partners.
According to Najeem, RUWASSA is launching the Clean Family Project in collaboration with WaterAid Nigeria to motivate communities And healthcare facilities towards practising specific hygiene behaviours for better health outcomes, adding that the project is in line with the national sanitation campaign ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the toilet’ which was launched by the Federal Government last year to deliver an open defecation free Nigeria by 2025.
He added that “this will be achieved by changing the physical and social environment, changing the narrative in people’s minds as well as motivating people to think and act differently through the use of emotional triggers. Specifically, we will empower and encourage people to practice good hygiene using context-specific hygiene messaging through promotional touchpoints while providing hygiene facilities and kits to support the practice of recommended hygiene behaviours.
“We will also hand over 35 permanent handwashing facilities and 100 semi-permanent handwashing facilities and hygiene packs to some under-served communities in the state. We encourage every resident of Oyo state to maximise the campaign and adopt the recommended hygiene behaviours,” he said
He appreciated the Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF), for the enormous support given to the project, WaterAid Nigeria, the technical partner and the Living Word Mission (LIWOM) the project’s implementing partner for the hard work from design to implementation.
The team lead at LIWOM, Pastor Marcus Williams stated that access to basic water supply services is an enabler for good hygiene practices, adding that the fact that many people within the state are unable to practice frequent handwashing with soap and clean water, increasing the risk to people.
“This gruesome reality limits the effectiveness of frequent handwashing with soap and clean water as a crucial first line of defence against the spread of infectious diseases,” he said, adding that stakeholders must recognise and commit to prioritising access to clean water and decent toilets as basic human rights.