Group optimistic that simple hygiene will guarantee cholera elimination

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Mr Mark Willis, the Programme Manager, Global Sanitation Fund (GSF), said on Wednesday that universal coverage of people using toilet in an hygienic way  would guarantee the elimination of cholera from the country.

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Willis made this statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday. ·   

“The chances are if you can try to achieve universal coverage of people using toilets, separating human faeces from human contact and also the other important aspect is washing hands at crucial times.

“As people start to adopt these habits, then things like cholera will become very rare events indeed, but you need to have strong coverage throughout the area where you are working.

“It requires that people understand that human habits can cause contamination and that they accept that they will receive economic and health benefits by changing their behaviours.

“ So, it’s not only that you need clean water but you need to know that when you use the toilet, you have to separate it so that flies can’t bring the germs back into the household.

 “Then people wash their hands, children especially, so that they don’t contaminate their hands and put it back in their food supply.”

Willis said that the combination of all these interactions had to go hand in hand but the key thing was to convince people through community-led efforts to change their negative behaviour.

The programme manager added that a more hygienic way was helpful in both health and economic terms.

 In another interview, Mrs Ebele Okeke, the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Ambassador, said that it would take habitual change for Nigeria as a country to overcome cholera.

According to her, diseases such as cholera can be controlled by 50 per cent, if citizens will observe simple hygiene principles.

“Washing your hands is like do-it-yourself vaccine; if we all do this, there won’t be any problem about cholera.

“After all, we stopped taking cholera vaccination but cholera has come back; if we could get away from cholera many years ago, definitely there is hope.

“ I believe that the local governments have to do their own; the Federal Government is not supposed to be going down to the rural areas.

“But because the state governments and the local governments are not pulling their weights, the Federal Government goes to the rural areas.

 “But I appeal to the state governments to  empower the local governments to provide water for the rural people and also appeal to the rural people  to manage whatever facility they are given.”

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