COVID-19: 21m people in six states protected – NGOs

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COVID-19

A Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the Heineken Africa Foundation and WaterAid Nigeria, says 21 million Nigerians across six states received protective support against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Mrs Oluseyi Abdulmalik, Communications and Media Manager of WaterAid Nigeria announced this in a statement on Friday in Bauchi.

Abdulmalik stated that the Heineken Africa Foundation WaterAid Nigeria, civil society organisations and the government celebrated a seven-month project that expanded hygiene access for marginalised and vulnerable communities.

These vulnerable communities are scattered in Bauchi, Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna and Oyo states.

“N284 million was earmarked to scale-up hygiene project aimed at complementing government’s efforts in reducing the spread of the coronavirus disease.

“Through large-scale hygiene promotion and provision of handwashing facilities to support the practice of good hygiene in the states of intervention,’’ the statement read in part.

The NGO lamented that despite the proven effectiveness of good hygiene to combat the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, millions of people in Nigeria do not have anywhere to wash their hands.

They also lack the knowledge of how and why they should wash their hands properly.

“The lack of facilities and knowledge creates a higher risk of illness and disease transmission including the spread of COVID-19.

“This has an adverse impact on health, education, gender equality, livelihoods and socio-economic development.’’

To address some of these challenges, WaterAid said it implemented the clean family campaign in the six states of intervention.

Under this project campaign, it said over 21 million residents around the six states and in Abuja were empowered with context-specific hygiene information and encouraged to practice good hygiene.

“Using different promotional touch points including national, state and community TV and radio stations,” it said.

It stated that no fewer than 210 non-contact and inclusive handwashing facilities were installed in healthcare facilities, schools and public places to support the practice of good hygiene.

“Hygiene packs containing face masks and soap were distributed to 29,000 households and 7,200 people with disabilities in the states of intervention.

“We urge our implementing civil society partners to continue to advocate for improved Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in their states and to promote citizen engagement to deliver on it.

“We encourage the governments of the states to continue to prioritise hygiene access and to ensure increased investment in the WASH sector to cater for the needs of residents,’’ it stated.

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