The Bauchi State Task Group for Sanitation (STGS) has urged the state government to prioritise disease prevention through adequate access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services in the state.
The Chairperson of STGS, Hajiya Halima Mohammed, made the call while briefing stakeholders at the end certification exercise in 321 communities in Bauchi and Katagum councils on Monday in Bauchi.
Mohammed said that absence of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Committee (WASHCOM) were responsible for poor hygiene practices in most communities aspiring to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030.
She urged government to continue to prioritise and promote disease prevention through adequate and equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene services in the state.
She said that most communities visited by the group had no established and trained WASHCOMS.
She attributed this to the absence of latrines and hand washing facilities in schools, places of worship and households.
“During our inspection, we observed weak evidence of follow ups by the WASH units of both Bauchi and Katagum local councils.
“There was also improper documentation and record keeping.
“Community inspection should be a routine exercise if local councils truly wish to attain ODF status by 2030,” she said.
The STGS chairperson observed that some communities were inaccessible due to flooding which also resulted in the collapse of several toilets.
“It is incumbent on local councils to ensure proper funding of the WASH units of their councils to enable them perform optimally in checking the spread of diseases within the communities,” she said
Mohammed enjoined the rural water agencies and councils to engage community leaders, health practitioners and community-led sanitation monitoring groups to complement the efforts of WASH units in the sensitisation.
He assured that the agency’s team of experts would put machinery in motion to address identified challenges for more local councils to attain open defecation free status before the end of the year.