The Lagos State Government on Wednesday launched a Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement Project to entrench hygienic behaviour amongst the vulnerable in the State.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Office of Drainage Services, Engr. Nurudeen Shodeinde, in his address at the launch in Amber Residence, Ikeja GRA, said that the programme was designed to educate the residents of two selected LCDAs, namely Ikorodu North and Ojodu, on good hygiene.
Engr. Shodeinde, represented by the Director, Drainage Enforcement and Compliance, Engr. Mahmood Adegbite, said the project entails disseminating knowledge and explaining hygiene practices as well as their associated health hazards to low-income populations, stating that the goal of the project is to raise hygiene awareness among people in the target communities, with a focus on hygiene education for women and girls.
He gave an assurance that the government of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu will continue to fund other important projects aimed at the revitalisation of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene sector in the State.
His words: “This is to formalise the structured and methodical approach to gaining universal adoption of handwashing and faecal sludge disposal, behaviours that are expected to reduce disease-causing micro-organisms and parasite transmission”.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the Ministry had previously carried out the campaign for public health and also embarked on the review of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) policy for the State, in collaboration with stakeholders, to achieve proper institutional arrangements that would deliver the goal of access to potable water and sanitation to all in the State.
Noting that the Ministry also embarked on sensitisation of the populace on handwashing and hygiene practices, Engr. Shodeinde stressed that the advocacy was backed up by the provision of handwashing facilities in schools, markets and correctional facilities across the State.
He averred that for Lagos to become a healthy and productive society capable of contributing to the nation’s long-term development, everyone must focus on hygiene and appreciate its importance.
Shodeinde said: “Our esteemed audience does not need convincing about the importance of hygiene, instead, you are our active stakeholders with whom we can discuss ways to persuade others on the importance of hygiene, water supply, sanitation and public health. If sanitation and hygiene are vital, then stakeholders like you who fight to promote water supply, sanitation and hygiene are critical”.
He ascertained that Lagos achieved accelerated development in the WASH sector by engaging several partners that include Federal and Local Agencies, WaterAid Nigeria, stakeholders in academia, development partners and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
“The State Planning and Implementation Committee (SPIC) would be inaugurated and its members drawn from different sectors to ensure the successful monitoring of the programme, while also carrying out advocacy at both the State and Local Government/Local Council Development Areas (LG/LCDAs)”, the Permanent Secretary stated.
Earlier in his remarks, the representative of the Country Manager, WaterAid/ Kimberly Clark, Mr. Ukeme Essien, said the project is aimed at achieving safe services in focused geographic areas in order to influence wider change and also prioritise WASH across the health sector to improve public health.
He said the project is targeted at beneficiaries including 20,000 mothers as well as pregnant and lactating women, who would be provided with hygiene kits and context-specific hygiene promotion activities.
Essien emphasised that 5,000 secondary school girls would be reached with hygiene kits, hygiene promotion and menstrual hygiene education, adding that 3,000 other entities would also benefit from rehabilitated sanitation facilities.
Also in her welcome address, the Director of Water Resources, Engr. (Mrs.) Omolanke Taiwo, said the event was significant in promoting and educating residents of Ikorodu North and Ojodu LCDAs on behavioural change, just as it increased public awareness of good hygiene practices and the consequences of neglect.
Mrs. Taiwo reminded participants that a baseline survey was conducted at the LCDA level and it involved data gathering on schools, Primary Health Care centres and communities without access to toilets and handwashing facilities.