By Peter Okolie
Ekwulobia (Anambra) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday, urged traditional rulers and community leaders in Anambra to explore better and effective ways to end open defecation in the state.
Mr Peter Akwobi, UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Coordinator in the state, made the call at a sensitisation on Open Defecation Roadmap with traditional rulers and Presidents-General in Aguata Local Government Area.
Akwobi said that the forum was aimed at sensitising the locals on the health implications of absence of toilet facilities in markets, parks, town halls and other public places.
According to him, the major problem in the area is proper hygiene.
He noted that the absence of toilet facilities in public places had exposed the people of the locality and others to all kinds of health hazards.
The coordinator, who expressed concern that toilets facilities were lacking in some communities, said that those with facilities were also not being utilised.
He urged the community leaders to support activities of WASH and Volunteer Hygiene Promoters to implement the scheme in the communities.
In her contribution, Mrs Oluchi Nwankwu, the Sanitation Officer, Rural Water Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), however, expressed satisfaction at the steady improvement of the residents to health issues.
Nwankwu said that the development had resulted to the certification of 199 WASH communities out of 224, as open defecation-free.
She urged the remaining communities to key into the exercise and to ensure that the entire council area attained open defection-free status.
In a remark, the traditional ruler of Isuofia, Igwe Christopher Moughalu, commended UNICEF and supporting agencies, for remaining steadfast in promoting hygiene, sanitation and development among communities.
Moughalu called for the resuscitation of the Obizi water scheme to provide water for most communities in the area to reduce cost of sinking and maintaining boreholes.
One of the Presidents-General, Mr Samuel Okeke, expressed worry over the rampant defection by dogs in the area and called for the enforcement of law restricting dogs from roaming in communities.
The meeting was attended by leaders from communities in the area, including Isuofia, Uga, Oraeri, Ezinifite, Amesi, Akpo, Umuchu and Igboukwu. (NAN)