The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that Nigeria needed additional two million toilets annually from 2019 to 2025 to achieve the Universal Basic Sanitation target.
Mr Bioye Ogunjobi, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Specialist for UNICEF, made this known at a media dialogue on sanitation campaign, with the theme: “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet”.
According to Ogunjobi, at the moment, Nigeria is delivering approximately 160,000 improved toilets annually.
He, however, described the current effort as a drop in the ocean, saying that there was need for all stakeholders including the media to redouble efforts toward ensuring access to improved toilet facilities for the populace, especially those in underserved rural communities.
The meeting was organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture supported by European Union and UK Department for International Development (UKaid).
Delivering a paper on “Overview of” “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet campaign and key findings from community dialogue” he identified the country’s current delivery of improved toilet facilities annually as grossly inadequate.
He however attributed the low access to toilet facilities as a contributing factor to the rate of open defecation in the country thereby impeding on national development.
Ogunjobi specifically noted that open defecation had an economic, social and health impact on national development.
According to him, economically, Nigeria loses about N455 billion of Gross Domestic Products (GDP) annually due to poor sanitation as a result of illness, low productivity, loss of learning opportunities among others.
“Health wise, more than 100,000 children under five years die each year due to diarrhoea of which 90 per cent is attributed to unsafe water and sanitation and Nigeria is the second country with the highest children’s deaths due to diarrhoea.
“Open defecation impact on development as one in four children under five years exhibit severe stunting while one in 10 are wasted due to frequent episodes of diarrhoea and other WASH-related illnesses.
“It causes low productivity as frequent episodes of WASH-related diseases cause absence from school or work, as affected people take time off to heal and some to take care of a sick relative,” he noted.
The WASH specialist further said that open defecation contributed to poor education outcomes by reducing school enrolment and attendance due to time lost in search for water and frequent episodes of WASH-related illnesses among others.
Ogunjobi explained that issue of ODF was of great importance adding that based on empirical study, every naira invested in water and sanitation sector results in economic benefits ranging from N1, 080 to N12, 240.
According to him, the gains emanate from savings in health costs, increased productivity and entrepreneurial opportunities for sanitation markets.
The specialist explained that the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” campaign geared toward ending open defecation was a key initiative that would reach many underserved population.
He specifically noted that the primary objective of the campaign was to get 47 million Nigerians to stop open defecation and to use the toilet as well as increase access to improved sanitation, especially in rural communities.
According to him, to achieve this stride, Nigeria needs strong leadership and political will at all levels through increased budgetary allocation and implementation, among other things.
The WASH specialist further explained that the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet” is an ambitious behaviour-change campaign in Nigeria with a strong citizen engagement component.
Accelerated R&D key to eliminating malaria -WHO
The WHO said accelerated Research and Development (R&D) in new tools for malaria prevention and treatment is key if the world is to eradicate the disease in the foreseeable future.
According to information in WHO’s official website, today, less than one per cent of funding for health R&D investment goes to developing tools to tackle malaria.
WHO also soareheads the urgent need for progress to advance universal health coverage and improve access to services, and better surveillance to guide a more targeted malaria response.
It said that the findings emerged in a report from WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication (SAGme).
According to Dr Marcel Tanner, Chairperson of the SAGme, efforts should be geared toward effective strategies to effectively tackle the malaria scourge.
“To achieve a malaria-free world we must reinvigorate the drive to find the transformative strategies and tools that can be tailored to the local situation.
“Business as usual is not only slowing progress, but it is sending us backwards,” he said.
He added that the group had published the executive summary of its report ahead of a WHO-hosted forum on “Rising to the Challenge of Malaria Eradication” to be held in Geneva on 9 September 2019.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that a malaria-free world would be a great feat for public health.
“Freeing the world of malaria would be one of the greatest achievements in public health, and with new tools and approaches we can make this vision a reality,” he said.
Nigeria News Agency reports that SAGme is composed of 13 leaders and scientists representing a range of disciplines and geographies.
They are supported by representatives from WHO collaborating centres, WHO staff and other key stakeholders.
Over the past three years, the SAGme has considered the biological, technical, financial, socio-economic, political and environmental factors that underpin malaria.
Its final executive summary presents a set of findings and recommendations to WHO.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Doctors advise against checking health symptoms online
Dr Oluwaseun Ayotola, a General Practitioner at Ajayi Medical Centre, Lagos has advised patients against checking their health symptoms online to avoid anxiety and misdiagnosis.
Ayotola gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Sunday in Lagos.
He said that doctors used to assess and ask patients several questions based on patients reported symptoms, review them holistically before arriving at a diagnosis.
“It has been discovered that most people once they feel sick, the next thing they do is to check on Google the symptoms.
“Most times, they are confronted with misinformation, unqualified opinions and alarmist advice that will induce fear and might even complicate the situation.
“We have seen cases of patients who had ‘headache’ and believed they had developed ‘brain tumor’ because they checked online.
“Just because you share a symptom with a disease does not mean you have the disease, there might be a simple and non-life threatening explanation for your aches,” he said.
He advised people to resist the compulsion of self-diagnosis, but that they should always consult qualified health practitioners and live a healthy life.
Also, Dr David Agboola of St. Raphael’s Hospital in Ikorodu, Lagos State, warned that health information are sensitive, thus they should be handled with care.
“Every time you visit a web page seeking information about a health condition, there is a chance that such data is being collected by a third party.
“Before you know it, you begin to receive tailored adverts and emails proffering treatments and solution to the ailments.
“Using medications that are not prescribed by a doctor can worsen symptoms and lead to complications,” he said.
NYSC DG preaches religious harmony, worships with Christian corps members
The Director General, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.- Gen. Shuaibu Ibrahim, has urged corps members to protect the unity of the country and avoid actions that may jeopardize her corporate existence.
A statement by Mrs Adenike Adeyemi, Director of Press and Public Relations, Ibrahim, quoted the DG as giving the charge while worshipping with National Association of Christian Corps Members during his visit to Borno State Corps Members camping in Katsina.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Borno corps members are having their Orientation at Government Science Secondary School, Batagarawa, Katsina as a result of insecurity in Borno.
The Director General urged them to avoid hate speech, rumour peddling and be cautious while using the social media in order not to cause public disaffection.
He warned them against indulging in social vices that may endanger them and also hurt them in future.
The DG told the corps members that they were no longer allowed to drive vehicles belonging to religious groups.
He advised them to always engage the services of professional drivers, saying that the NYSC cannot afford to lose any corps member to road accidents.
The director-general added that henceforth, all vehicles belonging to religious groups in NYSC must be parked at the State Secretariat under the control of the State Coordinator who will release them on request to safeguard Corps Members from road accidents.
While addressing the corps members deployed to Katsina State in their Orientation Camp, Ibrahim appealed to them to accept their postings in good faith and refrain from lobbying.
He warned that both givers and receivers of bribe were liable to prosecution while advising them to do their best and allow God to crown their efforts.
Edited by Felix Ajide
NGO to make FCT model for breastfeeding
March Health Care Initiative (MHI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, says it plans to make the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) a model for breastfeeding aimed at ending maternal and new born mortality.
Mrs Olubunmi Aiyedun, President, Maternal Adolescent and Reproductive Child Healthcare Initiative (MARCH Healthcare Initiative) said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency , on Sunday, in Abuja.
According to her, maternal and new born health has become paramount which has led counties globally to adopt nutrition as one of the solutions in ending maternal and new born child health mortality.
Aiyedun explained that the organisation has commenced a project called STRAPMAN project, an intervention which stands for sustaining, teaching, advocacy, research for breastfeeding practices and maternal nutrition.
“This is the first intervention we are embarking on since its inception about two years, with an intention to make FCT a model for breast feeding that would spur other states to emulate.
“We know that when nutrition is gotten right especially among new born and under five then basically more than 50 per cent of disease burden would be taken away.
“Because if a child has malaria or pneumonia the respond of a child that is well and adequately nourished will differ from the responds of a child that is malnourished,’’ she explained.
Aiyedun said as an organisation which is health focused, they have realised that there are gaps between the health clinician, health institutions, the communities and available policies.
She noted that the FCT has all the key stakeholders in health sector, which cuts across the six area councils, ranging from primary health care, secondary health facilities then to tertiary health facilities.
Aiyedun said that there are also colleges of nursing and midwifery which produces more than 100 nurses, midwives and healthcare professionals are situated in the FCT area councils.
She further added that the FCT, where law makers, ministers, senators are all based was yet to promote optimally early initiation of brestfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for children.
“Currently in the FCT early initiation of breastfeeding stands at 29 per cent and exclusive breastfeeding stands at 52 per cent.
“However the FCT government is looking at extending it to 100 per cent in the next two years with zero water campaign.
“In collaboration to that, the STRAPMAN project would help strengthen health facilities by building capacity of healthcare professionals, and students of health institutions,’’ she said.
Aiyedun said the project was also aimed at ensuring health facilities promote, support and protect the nutritional value of the mothers and children as well developing the right attitude and interpersonal communication.
She said the capacity building would equip health professionals and the students with the knowledge and skills to support early initiation of breast feeding within the first 30 minutes to one hour after delivery.
Others include exclusive breastfeeding for six months and complimentary breast feeding for at least two years, also to ensure crèches are available in all government and private organisations.
Also ensuring job aids such as maniques, mama breast, are available for demonstration during training as well as counselling rooms and breast examination done during anti natal clinics.
Aiyedun however stated that if these gaps are bridged, FCT would be a model for breastfeeding in the country and would go a long way in promoting nutrition for under five.
Edited By Ekemini Ladejobi
Yellow fever: Enugu govt to sensitise public health workers to observe precaution
The Enugu State Government has concluded plans to sensitise its public health workers to the need to observe universal precautions against yellow fever to check the spread.
Dr Okechukwu Ossai, the Administrator, Enugu State Hospital Management Board, stated this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Saturday.
Ossai said that Yellow fever is a disease caused by a virus transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
He said it could result in sudden bleeding from the nose, mouth, ear and stomach.
He stated that while most infections could be resolved some could lead to death.
According to him, in mild cases yellow fever causes a fever, headache, nausea and vomiting.
He, however, added that it could become more serious, causing heart, liver and kidney problems along with bleeding.
““Up to 50 per cent of people with the more-severe form of yellow fever die of the disease,” he noted.
As a preventive measure, Ossai said in addition to getting the vaccine, one could help protect oneself against yellow fever by protecting oneself against mosquitoes.
He said to reduce exposure to mosquitoes one must avoid unnecessary outdoor activity when mosquitoes are most active.
“Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you go into mosquito-infested areas and also if your accommodation doesn’t have good window screens or secured ventilation, use bed nets.
“”Not just ordinary nets but mosquito nets that have been pre-treated with insecticide offer additional protection.”
He said the transmission of the disease was usually sustained through blood contacts and health workers were always at risk being usually the first contact by those infected.
“Yellow fever is sustained through blood contacts an those who are at risk of being infected are the health workers.
“This is because on daily basis, they have one thing or the other to do with blood,” he said.
He added that it was imperative that the state government should do its best in protecting its health workers through sensitisation programmes.