By Tosin Kolade
Abuja – Zenith Water Project has urged the Federal Government to ensure the treatment of water sources in communities affected by cholera outbreaks to improve water quality and curb spread of the disease.
Mr Nicholas Igwe, the Managing Director of the non-governmental organisation, made the call on Wednesday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He stressed that the government should strive to curb the spread of cholera by treating the communities’ water sources, while preventing new outbreaks of the disease.
He, however, noted that the provision of water was not enough in efforts to eradicate cholera, adding that the focus of water supply programmes should also be on ensuring water quality and providing water treatment plants.
“We lack quality water, this challenge is the same everywhere; so, we have to ensure that we provide adequate water treatment systems.
“We, as an NGO, often examine the water quality of an area and then, we provide water systems that will deal with the water challenges facing that particular the area,’’ he said.
Igwe described the whole idea of spending a lot of money on the management of cholera outbreaks, while the residents of affected communities still patronised the same water sources, as worrisome.
He underscored the need to sensitise the people to the dangers of drinking unsafe water, saying that the government should also ensure the provision of quality water for the citizens.
“It is only clean and quality water that sustains life; the fact that some water is clear does not necessarily mean that the water is clean,’’ he said.
The managing director said that one of the primary roles of Zenith Water Project was to execute sustainable water projects aimed at treating the water sources of the rural areas affected by cholera outbreaks.
He added that the NGO would also ensure the provision of safe water in the neighbourhoods, while educating the residents on the health implications of drinking unclean water.
“Although Zenith Water Project is a private sector company, the group has been working with the government and other agencies in promoting water quality across the country,’’ he said.
Igwe noted that his organisation, a member of the Sanitation Water for All (SWA), had been working with other stakeholders under the auspices of UNICEF, to achieve a synergy among all partners involved in water and sanitation programmes.
“The purpose of Zenith Water Project working together with other stakeholders is to tackle the challenges that may crop up from the people’s lack of access to water and sanitation facilities,’’ he said.
Igwe urged other private sector organisations to work closely with the three tiers of government in efforts to sensitise Nigerians to the importance of good sanitation.
He noted that water-borne diseases and infections associated with poor sanitation were the leading causes of death the world over.
He added that these infections had larger consequences on the socio-economic growth of countries.
“It is important for the private sector organisations to begin to work closely with the various levels of government to ensure attainment of Goal Six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’’ he said.
NAN reports that Goal Six of the SDGs calls for the provision of clean water and sanitation for all people.