By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
Minister of Environment, Mohammed H. Abdullahi, has charged all state Governments, Commissioners of Environment, Local Government Chairmen/Councillors, Environmental Health Officers, NGOs, CBOs, FBOs, Development partners, and organised private sector across the country to actively step up their Sanitation and hygiene campaigns as an effective means of controlling and preventing disease transmission.
Abdullahi identified poor sanitation as being responsible for a significant percentage of preventable communicable diseases particularly in developing countries including Nigeria.
He said large number of children die every year due to sanitation and hygiene enabled diseases.
“In Nigeria, more than 3.5 million children suffer from diarrheal diseases and this is not a small figure. Children, who are less than 5years old, are more prone to such diseases,” he said.
According to him, addressing sanitation and hygiene challenges in the country is a necessary and worthwhile investment for government at all levels.
He said, “For every One Hundred naira (N100) spent improving sanitation and hygiene, between Three Hundred naira (N300) and Four Hundred naira (N400) is saved which can be invested in health, education, social and economic development. Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to call on Nigerians especially those in places of authority (public or private) to ensure adequate provision for Sanitation and Hygiene.”
Speaking further he said, “The advent of emerging and re-emerging diseases such as COVID-19, Lassa Fever, Monkey, Cholera in Nigeria has further underscored the fact that access to Sanitation and Hygiene is not only a fundamental human right that safeguards public health and human dignity but also an essential need when it comes to disease prevention.
“This year’s National Environmental Sanitation Day therefore calls on individuals, communities, government at all levels e.t.c to be involved in the planning and implementation of sanitation and hygiene activity within their immediate environment and community,” said Abdullahi.
The Minister who spoke recently at the event to commemorate National Environmental Sanitation Day said, in the effort to promote Clean and Safe Environment, the Ministry with other Stakeholders has validated the National Environmental Sanitation Policy of 2005 and its guidelines on Pest and Vector Control, School Sanitation, Market and Abattoir Sanitation, Sanitary Inspection of Premises, Solid Waste Management and Safe excreta and sewage disposal: construction of public toilets in public places (Schools, markets).
“Recently, the Ministry initiated a programme tagged “Clean and Green” and one of its major aims is to advocate for clean environment. There are so many steps already taken in the direction of success of this campaign, by creating awareness in the public places on the important of keeping our environment clean. In other to further strengthen/sharpen the policy drive for addressing this problem, the Ministry has also set up a Sanitation Desk in the 36 States of the Federation and FCT and also established Integrated National Environmental Health and Sanitation Surveillance System,” he added.