The Ekiti Government, in partnership with some civil society organisations (CSOs), has launched Clean Family Campaign to instil key hygienic practices and check menace of open defaecation in the state.
Mr Bamidele Faparusi, the Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities, said in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday that it was aimed at mobilising communities and healthcare facilities toward imbibing specific hygiene behaviours.
The Clean Family Campaign is expected to be carried out by Ekiti Rural Water and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), in collaboration with Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF) and WaterAid Nigeria.
Also, as part of the campaign launch, there was inauguration and handing over of an hygiene-based facility to the management of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti.
Faparusi said the initiative would change the physical and social environment, change the narrative in people’s mind and motivating them to think and act differently through the use of emotional triggers.
He said that the initiative was in line with the national sanitation campaign of the Federal Government tagged: “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet”.
It was launched in 2019 to deliver an open defaecation free Nigeria by 2025.
According to him, good hygiene is the first line of defence against infectious diseases, like Coronavirus disease.
He said: “Lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure make the practice of good hygiene difficult.
“It is against this background that we are launching the Clean Family Campaign in Ekiti, in collaboration with WaterAid Nigeria.”
The commissioner recommended handwashing with soap at critical times, social distancing, respiratory hygiene, use of clean toilets, proper waste management and cleaning frequently touched surfaces for better outcome, especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Faparusi said the state government, through the campaign, would empower and encourage people to practice good hygiene, using contexts specific hygiene messaging through promotional touch points such as Television, billboards and radios.
“We will also hand over 35 permanent handwashing facilities and 100 semi-permanent handwashing facilities and hygiene packs to some underserved communities in the state.
“We believe that the Clean Family Campaign, being launched, will contribute toward achieving the objectives of the state’s open defaecation free roadmap.
“It set us on track to attain open defaecation free status by 2022 – a directive by the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, and change the current narrative around sanitation and hygiene in the state,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, said 167 million citizens (84 per cent of the population), lacked basic handwashing facilities.
Mere, represented by Mr Kolawole Banwo, Head, Policy, Advocacy and Communications of the organisation, said that 112 million people (56 per cent of the population) lacked decent toilets.
She said that the development was responsible for the outbreaks of diseases like diarrhoea, Cholera, Lassa fever as well as stunting and poor cognitive in children.
The country director said that the campaign would be implemented in two streams concurrently.
According to her, they are provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities and kits as well as hygiene promotion through national and community televisions, billboards and radio stations.
Also, Mr Olu Ogunrotimi, the Executive Director, Environmental Development and Family Health Organisation (EDFHO), said the organisation would continue to complement the state government efforts.
Ogunrotimi called for more cooperation and synergy among stakeholders in the sector to achieve the desired free open defaecation status in the state.
Commenting, Mrs Bukola Adeyemo, representative of Heineken Africa Foundation (HAF), said the foundation had invested over 10 million Euro toward creating hygienic environment in Africa.
Adeyemo said the foundation, established in 2007, was saddled with the responsibility of improving the health status of people in the Sub-Sahara African.
She said the foundation had earmarked five million Euro to tackle COVID-19 pandemic in the coming year.
Commenting, Master Akindele Tope, a student of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, thanked both the state government and Heineken African Foundation for the donation, describing the gesture as unprecedented and highly beneficial.
Contributing, Chief Ojo Babatunde, the Odofin of Odo-Oro, lauded the collaboration aimed at enhancing best personal hygiene practices and safe environment across the state. (NAN)