From Ahmad Mohammed, Bauchi
The Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Dr Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, has disclosed that about four million people in Bauchi State do not have access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
Okoye stated this on Monday at a press conference held at the Secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) , Bauchi.
She therefore urged citizens to hold elected government officials accountable for delivering election promises on water and sanitation.
The director, who was represented by the Acting Director of Programme, Mr Mike Essien, lamented that the crisis also affect schools and health centres.
She said, “In 2018, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA) reported that the state recorded 9, 725 cholera cases resulting in the death of 28 people with women recording the highest number of cases.”
Okoye while citing statistics of the Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international standard of tracking, said that lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, has led to the deaths of more 300 children every day in Nigeria.
She said that due to lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, Nigeria loses 1.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), representing N1.6 trillion.
Okoye said, “According to UNICEF, the crisis contributes to the continuous outbreak of diseases like cholera and Lassa fever, an increase in the spread of anti-resistant infections acquired in unhygienic hospitals, lower levels of girl-child education, stunting, wasting and poor cognitive development,” She called on elected officials in Bauchi State to honour their election campaign commitments and promises to improve water, sanitation and access during the course of their tenure in office.
The director said that, the organisation was implementing the Keep Your Promises Campaign in collaboration with some civil society organisations in the state to create a platform through which the citizens will engage elected officials to demand water, sanitation and health services in their communities.
She commended Governor Mohammed of the state for being pro-active in addressing the water crisis in the state since assumption of office by convening a meeting of international workers and agencies.
The population of Bauchi State is estimated at about seven million to eight million people.