FG unveils sanitation marketing strategy to combat open defecation
The federal government has introduced a comprehensive sanitation marketing strategy to curb open defecation.
The strategy was unveiled at an event commemorating 2023 World Toilet Day under the theme ‘Accelerating Change’ on Tuesday in Abuja.
At the event, Joseph Utsev, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, underscored the importance of collaborative efforts and collective ownership among stakeholders to expedite processes to foster a cleaner and healthier environment.
He emphasised the ministry’s dedication to maximising the social and economic impact within the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector.
Mr Utsev also spoke on developing a national WASH policy and a dedicated national sanitation marketing strategy designed to promote the supply side of the sanitation market.
The minister disclosed plans to identify bankable sanitation projects with multifaceted returns to attract investments and ongoing efforts to create innovative financial instruments.
According to the minister, the measures will mitigate risks for private investment in the sanitation sub-sector.
Mr Utsev reiterated the government’s commitment to improving access to sanitation services, recognising its impact on the standard of living and overall quality of life for citizens.
Addressing sanitation as a critical public health concern, he shared insights from a 2012 World Bank report, revealing the staggering economic impact of inadequate sanitation practises, amounting to an estimated N455 billion in annual losses for Nigeria.
The minister emphasised the social costs associated with poor sanitation, including the loss of dignity and privacy and an increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence, particularly affecting women and girls.
“The comprehensive approach not only addresses the economic ramifications but also underscores the broader social and public health imperative for a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous Nigeria,’’ he said
Earlier, Jane Bevan, UNICEF chief of WASH, emphasised the imperative for urgent action in addressing sanitation challenges in Nigeria.
Ms Bevan commended the collaborative efforts and collective ownership demonstrated by both ministries, as such commitment was crucial for Nigeria to achieve its sanitation goals.
On her part, Chisom Adimorah, WASH specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, said that renewed political attention and social movement were needed for safely managed sanitation, with state governments in the lead.
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