Only 20% Of Hospitals Have Sanitation Facilities, Says Minister Of Water Resources

At the Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on Sanitation in Abuja, The Minister of Water Resources, Mr. Suleiman Adamu, said that around 20 per cent of hospitals have proper basic sanitation facilities. He added that this should raise serious concerns over the poor hygiene situations in the country. To him, these statistics are disturbingly low and that Nigerians should show more commitment to changing the narrative.

He mentioned that the meeting gave the opportunity to highlight and maximise the importance that the role sanitation and hygiene were playing in preventing and mitigating disease outbreaks within the country. In spite of the health dimension of sanitation improvement, he says, there also exists opportunity to build a circular economy around sanitation businesses.

“Our statistics are abysmally low. Only 20 per cent of health facilities have adequate hygiene facilities. We must, therefore, explore and take maximum advantage of these opportunities. As you are aware, responsibility for different aspects of sanitation lies within different ministries, but Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) has a cross-cutting impact on other sectors. It is, therefore, imperative that we continue to work together to harmonise efforts in addressing the sanitation challenge being faced by Nigeria,” he said.

Minister Adamu said that the Clean Nigeria Campaign had yielded considerable results as Nigeria was now able to boast of 78 open defecation-free local government areas (LGAs). He urged that the various tiers of government strengthen their collaborative efforts in improving the access to sustainable hygiene services, which was in line with the SDGs and the mantra of “leaving no one behind”.

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of Works and Housing, said that managing open defecation and solid waste disposal were key among the factors that are promoting healthy living. According to him, addressing all of the public health concerns is a huge battle towards winning the goal of wellness and healthier environments. He said that his ministry had made a policy that would ensure that all building contractors adhered to building toilets in all public places.

Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, said that the ministry bore the greatest burden of all of the societal ills, as issues of health promotion and disease prevention were among its responsibility. Dr. Mamora says that the principle of universal health coverage highlighted the need for health promotion, disease prevention and treatment at all times. He urges that all the states should show more commitment towards ending the spread of hygiene-related diseases such as: cholera and diaorrhea.

Ms. Jane Bevan, UNICEF Chief of WASH, said that it was commendable that the ministries had shown commitment toward scaling up sanitation in their respective offices. According to her, there is the need to support states in making sanitation facilities available in all schools and that this would go a long way to improve the wellbeing of pupils and students. She said that Jigawa and Katsina State Governments had shown commitments toward making their states open-defecation free, adding that all other states should do more. Bevan also says that the UN Agency was committed to supporting Nigeria in its drive to scaling up sanitation.