United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and European Union, EU have lamented that over 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation globally, adding that one billion people also engage in open defecation.
Localizing the issue to Nigeria, the organizations revealed that 1.8 million Ekiti residents out of a total population of 2.7 million are engaged in open defecation, saying the state contributes about 60.8% to the aggregate of this menace nationally.
These statistics were made known, weekend during a 2-day media networking and alliance building workshop on organized by European Union/UNICEF on Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Open Defecation Free campaign held at Ijero Ekiti, Ijero Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The UNICEF/EU delegation, led by Mohsena Islam, a WASH specialist from UNICEF, went on a field trip with Ekiti Media WASH group to Asasa and Temidire Olojofi farm settlements in Aramoko Ekiti, to assess compliance with the campaign against open defecation.
In her presentation, a Community Led Total Sanitation , CLTS, facilitator and a staff of Rural Water Sanitation Agency in Ekiti , Mrs Lanre Ayeni, said 748 million of the global population, lack access to hygienic water supply.
According to her, it was so regrettable that 1.8 billion people still use contaminated sources of water, which she said has caused a lot of damage to their health and body systems.
“When you take a water that has contaminated by cheat , faeces, the person will have ten million viruses, one million bacteria and one hundred thousand parasite eggs in her body system.
“Advocacy for open defecation free in Ekiti and good water sanitation is yielding results. Enforcement in the past by CLTS coordinators had failed, what we now use is persuasion and people are gradually changing their perception about this concept.”
Mohsena, who disclosed that several achievements have been recorded through UNICEF/EU WASH programme in Ekiti, using Gbonyin and Ekiti West as pilot councils in advocacy for open defecation Free and WASH, ssaid the two international organizations have been funding the
programme and rendering technical supports.
“In Ekiti , an estimated number of 180,000 people are gaining access to good source of water through provision of hand pump boreholes. In the same way, 29,582 people in Ekiti have gained access to safe water through rehabilitation of 65 hand pumps in Gbonyin. 965 pupils from four schools now have access to child and gender friendly water supply
“We have also bring improvement to 250 towns and communities in ODF by providing ten toilets per public. We have also provided technical supports in 313 communities, for them to know various ways to build and take ownership of low cost latrines and how to repair them in case of damage.
“Stakeholders would continue to step up sensitization and advocacy in rural areas on the need to key into the total eradication of open defecation, to forestall breakout of diseases”.
CLTS Coordinator in Gbonyin, Mr Kayode Eleso, said many residents have been arrested and prosecuted for engaged in open defecation, particularly in Ado Ekiti metropolis , while efforts, he said, were also on to compel every household to have their toilets.
He regretted that low manpower in the sector was responsible for the noticeable inefficiency of his officers , saying records show that no staff has been recruited since Ekiti was created on October 1, 1996”.

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