An Open Defecation Free Society would not only ensure an hygienic environment but aid increase of lifespan, healthy living, societal dignity and potential for Increased tourism.
This was the submission of Acting Coordinator, Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Chioma Okpara at a symposium to commemorate World Environmental Health Day organized by Environmental Health Science Department, Kwara State University, Malete.
Mrs. Okpara who enumerated the benefits of an open defecation free society to also include savings in healthcare, better learning capacity among others said that the health implication causes ailments like diarrhea, trachoma, meningitis to mention a few.
She explained that the outcome of the delegation sent to India to understudy what the country had done to be certified free of Open defecation by October this year, gave birth to Clean Nigeria : Use the Toilet Campaign with the objective to end Open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, represented by the Chief Medical Director, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Abdullahi Yusuf said until sanitation habit improves, disease like Malaria, Polio, Yellow Fever, diarrhea would continue to surface, hence the need for all to embrace hygienic environment.
Acting Vice Chancellor, Kwara State University Malete, Prof. Saka Mahmud, represented by Provost School of Pure and Applied Science, Prof. Oladimeji commended the Dean Environmental Health Science Department, Dr. Henry Sawyer for organizing the event said early death of children below 5 years were attributed to poor sanitation through contaminated water.
The Chairman of the occasion, Founder, New Gate College of Health Technology, Minna, Niger State, Mallam Hassan Nuhu who identified traditional beliefs as part of hindrances to put an end to open defecation, frowned at politicization of issues in the country.
He positioned that if the environmental health officers at the local government were well empowered with financial and adequate training, they were in the good position to enforce Open Defecation free society .
Speaking on the theme of the symposium, Role and Responsibilities of Local Government Administrators in Helping to create an open defecation free society “, a Lecturer at the department, Mrs. Halimah AbdulRahman disclosed that in the past 5 years, the University had embarked on open defecation free campaign in 24 states out of 36 states of the federation by visiting 162 communities where its being practice with toilet facilities provided.
Highlights of the event was Sanitarians featured an educational video display on open defecation, safe water, sanitation and hygienic services.
The theme for this year’s World Environmental Health Day is “Climate Change Challenges : Time for Global Environmental Health to act in Unison”.
Aminat Adekunle/ Ilorin