By G9ija

The Water Aid Nigeria, an agency saddled with the responsibilities of assisting the government in proffering solutions to the issues of Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), has again in its efforts in ensuring that all and sundry have access to portable water begun a stakeholders meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

The stakeholders’ engagement meeting which had in attendance representatives from the ministry of water and natural resources, the ministry of environment, the ministry of health and as well as the Representative from the board of primary health care service, aimed at situational assessment of WASH in health care facilities across all the geo-political zones of the state.

Briefing journalists on the purpose of the meeting, Mr Emmanuel Yokubo, the planning, monitory and evaluation manager at the Water Aid Nigeria, said we are here for a stakeholders dialogue session with practically all health sector actors in the state the and the mission is to see how we can collaborate and jointly conduct a situational assessment of water sanitation and hygiene in primary health facilities in Oyo state.

Emmanuel said further that today’s meeting is meant to discuss with the sector actors how this methodology will and how this assessment will happen and possibly identify the primary health facilities that would be assessed.

“The objectives of this assessment is to understand the water situation in most of the primary health care facilities we have in Nigeria as whole all in the view to contribute to the goal we have to the national action plan to the revitalisation of all sectors and ensuring that water sanitation and hygiene is available to all people in institutions and even the public, this is the step we have taken in Oyo state to do that for the primary health facilities.”

“The efforts in agitation for uses of water especially at the covid-19 period has been great because we are not the only partners supporting the projects especially at the peak of the Covid-19, so in this recovery phase of the pandemic a lot of efforts have been put into as we are continuing with our hygiene behaviour message, using different approaches part of why we are doing this assessment is also to see how we can ensure that health care facilities have adequate facilities that to contribute to curbing the menace of Covid infection and other wash related diseases in our institutions.”

Emmanuel maintained that the Primary health care facilities are really the first primary contact form of access to the common person at the rural and typical settings, so it really sad that the situations we find those PHCs are in a sorry state.

“At this session today we are trying to see how everybody will be very active, collaboratively, the ministry of health of taking the responsibility, primary health care development board, water resources ministry, environment ministry all coming together to ensure that with this assessment we know exactly what the issues are and the finding will also help in influence the kind of budget that will be done to support the health care facilities, it’s operations and management, whereas finding realized that facilities do not have water entirely.

“We believed and most cases lead advocacy where that can be taken up either by the board or the local government, or the state to also prioritize that to ensure that the facilities at that level have basic wash facilities that will also enhance health-seeking behaviour of the population,” Emmanuel said.

Speaking o behalf of the state government is the Representative of the Commissioner for Health, Mrs Akande Afusat Adebisi, the director of food, water and laboratory services commend the Water Aid Nigeria for their efforts in ensuring that all the PHCs in the state get adequate water source.

She said, Oyo state have actually over the years have been dealing with this kind of relationship with Water Aids Nigeria and it has always been on providing wash facilities for our Public Health Centres, normally they go through the ministry of health, whenever there is an opportunity, they write the ministry and we link up with the facilities they would benefit from the project, and I could remember last year about twelve of the facilities in Oyo state benefitted from the project.

“As we all know that wash has to do with water and sanitation, it has always been a situation whereby most of our PHCs don’t even have toilet facilities not to talk of portable water, because I have had the privilege of been involved in an integrated supervisory support program which we hold on a quarterly basis and I have been to Shaki East LG, Ogbomoso LG, Oriire LG, and the last one I did was the Iseyin LG, some of these facilities I visited don’t have any water source.

“Most of those facilities depend on the neighbourhood to get their water, there was even a facility I visited they did not even have water not to talk of the toilet, the facility is located beside a primary school and they depend on the water facility and the toilet facility for the primary school, can you just imagine, what kind of toilet a primary school will have that will serve better for the health facility, so I just believed that the water aids have been trying to help some of our facilities but it hasn’t gone round, and we are asking for more.

“The present situation on the ground in Oyo State about three local government areas are now experiencing reported cases of cholera, we just believed that if our facilities are able to get good water source and good toilet facilities definitely it will go a long way to help the situation on the ground.

Also in his contributions, Mr Olabode Kehinde, the director of logistics management and quality assurance for Oyo State Primary Health Care Board, said this assessment training is a very laudable thing to happen in Oyo state because we are talking of scaling of water in Oyo state and changing the behaviour of our people as concerning water.

Mr Kehinde maintained that this is a Covid era where we encourage people to wash their hands regularly, this training will enhance that because we will still reach out to some health workers, we will be able to train them and that will be able to bring change to the people.

“People are now aware that they should wash their hands regularly and as often as possible, but with this training now by the time we castigate it to the grassroots I think it will go a long way to have a lot of impact in the lives of our people. Mr. Kehinde said.

Speaking also on the challenges battling with his department, Kehinde said, ” the challenge we face most time is the capital, the financial aspect because most of the material needed are capital intensive, but thank God that we have so many partners that are ready to partner with Oyo state in order to get this done, like this water aid Nigeria they are trying to see how they can help Oyo state, I think majorly if the finance is out of the problem it will be minimal.

Govern Makinde is also trying a lot in making sure that people at the grassroots have access to potable water, for instance, the RUWASSA have been given a rig where they can make boreholes for the usages of the people both in the rural and in urban areas and I think that is a very laudable thing in the party of the state government and I know that there are still lots of projects that our governor is really working on to ensure that people get water as the time needed and to ensure that the water-borne diseases that are around could be reduced.