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COVID 19: WaterAid Begins Campaign On Hygiene, Vaccine Uptake To Strengthen Enugu Communities Against Pandemic

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – WaterAid Nigeria with support from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) fund managed by Unilever, has launched a Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition Phase 2 (HBCC 2) project in Enugu State, with a view to strengthening Communities on hygiene and vaccine uptake against the dreaded COVID 19 pandemic.

It said the project is targeted at curbing the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases among vulnerable groups, especially in Bauchi and Enugu States.

According to the organization , the £396,000 project is expected to reach over 16 million individuals with key hygiene behaviour change promotion over the next one year.

“In collaboration with government, civil society partners, media and relevant water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) agencies, WaterAid will undertake this project with a mix of intervention strategies targeting women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, in urban and rural communities.

Speaking during its official lunch in Enugu weekend, WaterAid Country Director in Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, represented by the Enugu State Lead, Mr. Solomon Akpanufot explained that the HBCC 2 project is designed to align with the nationwide ‘Clean Family campaign’, which promotes hygiene practices and COVID-19 vaccine uptake on a massive scale, along with the provision of WASH facilities required to support the adoption of the key recommended behaviours.

“On behalf of WaterAid, I am delighted to welcome you all to this event. We are here to flag off the Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition project phase 2, in Enugu State. This project, simply referred to as HBCC 2, in an intervention designed to further Strengthen Nigeria’s response to COVID – 19 and other infectious diseases, while also encouraging massive vaccine uptake in Bauchi and Enugu States.

Mere hinted that “in Enugu State, WaterAid Nigeria will implement this project by leveraging on existing partnership with the state government, small town Water supply, and Sanitation unit (STU), State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency RUWASSA, the Civil Society organizations (CSOs) and the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) media.

“It will promote COVID-19 preventive behaviours such as handwashing with soap at critical times, respiratory hygiene, social distancing and vaccine uptake, while also covering other hygienic practices effective against infectious diseases, such as water storage, food hygiene and safe excreta disposal.

“HBCC 2 intervention strategies include the mass media and community-based activities. In addition to this, WaterAid will rehabilitate handwashing facilities installed at previous phases of the COVID-19 response in Bauchi and Enugu states, while also constructing and installing new handwashing facilities in schools and primary health care centers.

“The recently concluded WASHNORM 2021 report, shows that only 10% of Nigeria’s population have access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.
It added that “the modest gains in access to basic WASH services over the years, is continuously dwarfed by the ever-increasing population, which is now estimated to be about 206million.

“Access to WASH remains an indispensable element of preventive health care and by extension, primary healthcare. Two years since Nigeria confirmed its first case of coronavirus, the disease remains a major threat as the country continues to grapple with new cases every day.

The organization noted that “With the emergence of deadlier variants, prevalent hesitancy in vaccine uptake, as well as the lack of hygiene practices and adequate WASH facilities, Nigeria must take precautions by aggressively pursuing proactive preventive measures at the national and state governments.

“Despite the national rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) recently revealed that only about 16 million people, representing about 14.7% of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccines are part of managing COVID-19, in addition to established preventive measures, such as frequent handwashing with soap.

“This intervention will build on progress achieved from implementing the Scale-up Hygiene Project funded by the Heineken Africa Foundation COVID-19 response in both states.

“In the states, levels of access to WASH are alarming, putting the rural and peri-urban population at risk to massive COVID-19 transmissions. Urgent WASH intervention is particularly crucial in these more vulnerable areas in both states” Mere stated

“Though Nigeria’s daily records of infections have reduced, COVID-19 remains a global threat and no one is completely safe until everyone is safe, especially with the constant mutation of the virus into more deadly variants.

“The experiences of other nations struggling to contain a resurgence of the deadly disease, have shown that we must continue to put up our defences, not just against corona virus, but infectious diseases in general. In doing this, we must embrace key hygiene behaviours and ensure that we drastically reduce vaccine hesitancy.”

Commissioner for Health in Enugu State, Dr. Ikechukwu Obi, in his remark at the event, applauded WaterAid for its numerous interventions in the state, especially on issues relating to WASH, saying government does not take such gesture for granted.

African Examiner reports that some of the State Ministries that graced the launch include Health, Environment, Rural Development, Water Resources, Education, amongst others.

Short URL: https://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=77644

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