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Kwara launches campaign against open defecation

Wole Adedeji, Ilorin

The ‘Kwara Clean Campaign’, a programme aimed at eradicating open defecation habit in the state, has been launched.

Coming under the code name; ‘Clean Kwara4’, the flag off was to commemorate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) fifth anniversary said to be part of the government’s efforts to end open defecation and promote good hygiene in the state.

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, who did the flagg off, in the state capital said, “This flag-off coincides with the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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“A key part of the Goal which is ‘Goal 6’ is a general access to safe and affordable drinking water and access to adequate and equitable sanitation, hygiene for all, and end to open defecation by 2030.

“Just like in many areas of human capital development indices, we met a state with appalling ratings in SDGs, including Goal 6:1 and 2 mentioned above.

“For instance, a national survey published in 2018 ranked Kwara State 30th among the 36 states of the Federation having access to basic water and sanitation services.

“We were ranked 22nd in terms of access to basic water supply services. Going by that report, we are in the bottom three nationwide in access to sanitation services and among the states with highest prevalence of open defecation, and the poorest in the North Central.”

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The governor further lamented that a study by the Office of his Senior Special Assistant on SDGs on public toilets and services at motor parks in the state showed that 95 per cent of the latrines are dry pit while just 5 per cent of them are pour-flush.

He expressed sadness that the situation was grimmer with the “healthcare facilities and hospitals because it was discovered that up to 90 per cent of them lacked improved water supply with no hand washing facility.”

Governor AbdulRazaq added that inadequate access to quality water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services could negatively impact health, in addition to having huge socio-economic consequences on any society and encouraged authorities at the local government level to also commit to these protocols.

“We saw this huge gap when we came in and that explains why we prioritised provision of water that has led to the rehabilitation of several water works that had long collapsed, he declared.