By Justina Auta
Sightsavers Nigeria, an International NGO, has called on government to scale-up sanitation economy to end Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), in the country.
Ms Joy Tarbo, Communications Assistant, Sightsavers Nigeria, made the call in a statement on Friday, ahead of the 2022 World Toilet Day celebration.
Tagbo said that the step would also ensure national development.
According to her, the 2021 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH-NORM) III report showed that 48 million Nigerians representing 23 per cent still practised open defecation.
She said that the report further revealed that 31 per cent of people in rural areas were four times more likely to practice open defecation than those living in urban areas.
She added that poor households were 48 times more likely to practice open defecation than the rich households.
“We call on governments, organisations, private entities and communities to strengthen collaborations to ensure improved and increased inclusive access to WASH services through better economic commitments.
“While emphasising the relationship between the basic human right to water, sanitation and hygiene and the economy, there is a need to scale up the sanitation economy.
“There is also the need to create sanitation financial models for economic development and scaling up the Nigerian Sanitation Economy for National Development,” she said.
Country Coordinator, Trachoma at Sightsavers, Dr Teyil Wamyil-Mshelia, reiterated the need to engage communities with behaviour change interventions, across the states.
“We believe that strengthening the sanitation and hygiene economy is key to sustaining the gains made towards the elimination of NTDs.
“The 2022 World Toilet Day campaign ‘Making the invisible visible’, focuses on the impact of the sanitation crisis on groundwater.
“It is also exploring how inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes, and soil, polluting underground water resources,” she said.
Also, the organisation’s Country Director, Dr Sunday Isiyaku, said, “targeted increase in the sanitation and hygiene economy by governments, NGOs, private sector and other relevant actors will ensure the ever-increasing gap in access to sanitation and hygiene service.”
“This is close as we approach the global deadlines to achieve the SDG 6 by 2030,” he said. (NAN)