Following the spate of Coronavirus in the country , WASHMATA Initiative has raised the alarm that two thirds of the populace in the country lack clean drinking water, 94% of the health facilities and almost all the overcrowded motor parks and markets (91%) lack water, sanitation and handwashing facilities.
It Executive Director , Boluwaji Onabolu in a press statement issued in Abuja said a plan to urgently and systematically provide WASH services, in the COVID-19 National response is critical otherwise it may result in an exponential rise in corona virus cases as is being seen in ‘super powers’ USA and Italy.
According to him, the task force and all citizens at large to understand that it will be extremely difficult for many Nigerians especially the poor and vulnerable, living in overcrowdedurban slums and rural areas, to adhere to the handwashing recommendation.
He said the Prevention and Treatment need water adding how can the citizens of Nigeria implement the preventive measure to wash hands with soap under running water for 20 seconds if there is no running water”
He further said the isolation centers cannot functionhygienically without adequate water, supply and sanitationthus unduly increasing the risk of infection of the extremelyimportant medical personnel.
“The WHO Guidelines to countries on the effective use of this lock down period includes the equipping of treatment centers with critical facilities.
“It is not just about infrastructure, there have been several instances of citizens insisting that there is no Covid-19 in the country or washing their mouths with sanitizer due to a lack of sensitisation.
“The WASH sector is trained in community mobilization and sensitization using water as an entry point into resistant communities, after all in the words of a famous musician every one loves water;i.e ‘water no get enemy’.
“The relegation of the Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene sector to the distant background is alarming and indicates a gap in global best practice of collaboration between WASH and Health which is required to prevent the corona virus from spreading like wild-fire in Nigeria.
“A key indicator of the poor integration of WASH into the Covid-19 response plan is the absence of the Minster for Water Resources on the Presidential Task Force, though the Ministry is statutorily responsible for water, sanitation and hygiene services in the country; a major component of the global responses to Covid-19.
“We must do all we can not to go down the route of the USA, Italy and Spain; failing to implement preventive measures, their normally robust health systems are overwhelmed, and medical personnel are being infected.
“The present response can be strengthened by incorporating the WASH in emergencies partnership with Health sector. We must join hands to prevent the spread.