On the 1st of February 2019, Benue State broke a new record in the health (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene- WASH) Sector, as the National Task Group on Sanitation visited the LGA and validated communities that have long been certified by the State Task Group on Sanitation to be Defecation Free. This implies that no shit was found anywhere in entire local government area, people have changed their behaviors and have totally decided to live in a clean environment free from excreta.
In the past, many cases of water related diseases ranging from diarrhea to typhoid, dysentery, cholera etc. were consistently treated in the primary health care facilities in the LGA (death cases were also recorded), all these can be attributed to drinking unsafe water full of coliforms and other pollutants. Human excreta (Shit) is the major source of water pollution, during heavy down pour or even consistent rain drizzles, these shits seen in the open will be washed to the water bodies and eventually consumed by people who sorely depend on this water sources for daily use.
With the intervention of Global Sanitation Fund through Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Water Resources and United Purpose “a UK based Charity and the Executing Agency for Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria; RUSHPIN Programme ”, 6 Local Government Areas in Cross River and Benue State are currently benefiting from the intervention with 3 out of the 6 attaining Local Government Wide open defecation free status.
With the subsequent release of 50 million naira by the Government of Benue State as matched funding to scale up the programme, work is ongoing in three more local governments in Benue State with support by United Purpose.
UNICEF, WaterAid and other development partners are also championing the fight against open defecation in different states of the federation; making deliberate efforts to have a country free from open defecation. Nigeria’s case is not an exception because other countries of the world like India, Senegal Bangladesh and Madagascar are the leading the way in the fight against open defecation.