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WaterAid, Heineken Africa Foundation Launch 2nd Phase Of Hygiene Project To Fight COVID-19 In Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – As  part  of its COVID- 19 response intervention in helping vulnerable Communities protect themselves against the spread of the deadly novel disease, the Heineken Foundation Africa, has extended its partnership with WaterAid to support the second phase of the Scale-Up Hygiene project in Enugu State, initially launched by WaterAid Nigeria last year.

Speaking at the launch Thursday in Enugu, Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria,  Evelyn  Mere, said the second phase of the project will focus on consolidating on the wins of the first phase and ramping up existing hygiene promotion interventions and campaigns to increase access to improved hygiene.

It will also reduce the spread of the virus, and support national and sub-national governments to integrate water sanitation, and hygiene in their COVID-19 response and Vaccination strategy.

“To achieve this, WaterAid will empower communities with context specific hygiene behaviour change promotion tools, insights and materials designed to help  protect themselves from infectious diseases including COVID-19.

She explained that “the project will increase access to non-contact and inclusive hand washing facilities in key strategic locations and deepen advocacy strategies to key government stakeholders to prioritize, integrate and sustain water sanitation, and hygiene access.

According to Mere, “This will serve as a key preventive method for fighting the against disease spread and ensure preparedness against future pandemics.

She noted that the first phase of the project was successful in reaching and equipping 21 million residents in Bauchi, Benue, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna, and Oyo states and in the FCT with context-specific

hygiene information.

“Encouraging the practice of good hygiene, using different promotional cues and touchpoints, including national, state and community TV and radio stations.

“Around  210 non-contact and inclusive hand washing facilities were installed in healthcare facilities,

schools, and public places to support the practice of good hygiene.

“Additionally, hygiene packs were distributed to 29,000 households and 7,200 people with disabilities in the states of intervention.

“While the Government of Nigeria has begun the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, only about 1.4 million people, less than 1 per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

“According to the World Health Organization, “vaccines are only part of managing COVID-19, in addition to the main preventative measures, including frequent hand washing with soap.

“Where vaccines are being delivered, they must be delivered alongside other essential public health measures –including water, sanitation, and hygiene – to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable approach to controlling the spread of the disease.

She stated that “handwashing with soap remains a critical first line of defense against the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

“However, according to national statistics, more than 160 million people in Nigeria still lack access to basic hand washing facilities with soap and water, thereby increasing the risk of infection and

“The second phase of the Scale-Up Hygiene project is set to be implemented in Bauchi, Enugu, and Oyo states. The project will strengthen governance structures for water, sanitation, and hygiene service delivery to increase access to clean water and hygiene services and support the control of the spread of COVID-19 through hygiene behavioral   change interventions.

 Mere, added that “with emerging new variants of the coronavirus, thousands of people are exposed to the risk of contracting the disease.

“Whilst the world has urgently risen to the challenge of COVID -19 by introducing vaccine administration, every year hundreds of thousands of lives are silently lost because of lack of clean water, decent toilets, and hygiene.

“There is no doubt that urgent actions to sustain access to water, sanitation and hygiene

are needed as a long-term strategy to fighting against disease spread and warding off future pandemics.

“With the major achievements recorded from the first phase of the project, we are expectant that the second phase of the project will deliver on strengthening government structures for better water, sanitation and hygiene access.

“Having these basic human rights in place helps to stop infectious diseases in its tracks and helps vulnerable communities build back better from economic downturns inflicted by the pandemic.

“The government must respond now to providing infrastructure that sustains water,sanitation and hygiene at all levels, especially given its vital role in preventing disease spread and ensuring pandemic preparedness against future disease outbreaks.”

In her remark, Corporate Affairs Manager – South East, Nigeria, of Nigeria Breweries, Joy Egolum, applauded WaterAid for its commitment and doggedness in ensuring that the first phase was a huge success.

She said as one of the largest Breweries in the world, NB, do not joke with issues hygiene and sanitation, hence the company always commit huge resources across nations of the globe in promoting clean environment.

The South East NB Spokesperson, added that the organization goes beyond its Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, in promoting hygiene and sanitation across countries of the ward.

Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi represented by his Special Adviser on Water Resources, Anthony Dubem Onyia. (Junior), thanked WaterAid and Heineken Africa for choosing the state for the second phase of the project, assuring them that government will provide the enabling  environment for the smooth execution of the project.

 Our Correspondent reports that various state Ministries,  Stakeholders in water Resources management, development partners, amongst others, had during the event delivered good will massages to WaterAid Nigeria and Heineken Africa Foundation. 


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