An international non-governmental organization, WaterAid has said that more than four million people in Bauchi State do not have access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).
The disclosure was made by Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, Dr. Chichi Aniagolu-Okoye, on Monday at a press conference held at NUJ Secretariat, Bauchi, aimed at urging the citizens to hold elected government officials accountable for delivering election promises on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues.
The WaterAid Country Director who was represented by the Acting Director of Programme, Mr. Mike Essien, lamented that the crises also affects Schools and Health centres.
Aniagolu-Okoye said, “In 2018, Bauchi State Primary Health Care Development Agency (BSPHCDA) reported that the state recorded 9, 725 cholera cases resulting in the death of 28 people with women recording the highest number of cases,”.
Citing statistics of the Joint Monitoring Programme of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and international standard of tracking, she disclosed that lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, has led to the deaths of more than 300 children every day in Nigeria.
Aniagolu-Okoye stated that due to lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, Nigeria loses 1.3 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP), representing N1.6 trillion.
“According to UNICEF, the crisis contributes to the continuous outbreak of diseases like cholera and Lassa fever, increase in the spread of anti-resistant infections acquired in unhygienic hospitals, lower levels of girl-child education, stunting, wasting and poor cognitive development,” she said.
Aniagolu-Okoye, therefore, called on elected officials in Bauchi State to honour their election campaign commitments and promises to improve water, sanitation and wash access during the course of their tenure in office.
The Water Aid Country Director disclosed that the organisation was implementing the Keep Your Promises Campaign in collaboration with some civil society organisations in the state to create a platform through which the citizens will engage elected officials to demand Water, Sanitation and Health services in their communities.
She commended Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, for being pro-active in addressing the water crisis in the state since assumption of office by convening a meeting international workers and agencies.
Aniagolu-Okoye noted that the Governor did sign the Water Aid Nigeria pledge card as a demonstration of his commitment to improving access before his election and expressed confidence that his actions since coming into office demonstrate a political will to ensure the right policy is put in place to address the problem of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).