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Nigeria is currently witnessing the spread of COVID-19 within its communities, which has added immense pressure to the already strained health sector.
ABUJA, Nigeria - In a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus in Nigeria, United Purpose (UP), the executing agency for the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) Programme, has donated 500 handwashing facilities to primary health care centres in Benue and Cross River States.
According to United Purpose, 284 handwashing facilities out of 500 were distributed to selected primary health care centres in Benue State, and 216 of them were provided to Cross River State, in addition to a three-month supply of soap.
“These health care centres were identified through an assessment by RUSHPIN to determine which of them were in need of these facilities the most,” Ms Boluwatito Awe, UP’s Communications Officer said in a press statement.
Nigeria is currently witnessing the spread of COVID-19 within its communities, which has added immense pressure to the already strained health sector. In the context of poor sanitation, only 6% of health facilities have basic water and sanitation services, according to the 2018 WASH Norm Survey findings by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Water Resources.
As the facilities were handed over to the state governments in Calabar, Mr Nanpet Chuktu, Programme Manager for United Purpose, stressed the need for increased investment in sustainable sanitation and hygiene in both states.
Mr Chuktu emphasized the importance of reducing the rate of health care worker infections and transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
“Handwashing is not just about fighting coronavirus. Today, we urge the state governments to invest in more sustainable sanitation and hygiene infrastructure for health centres and schools across the state, as this is essential for good health. Our frontline workers are health care workers. When there is a pandemic, a lot of them will step behind, but our health care workers will be our front line of defence,” he said.
Mr Chuktu called for behaviour change amongst Nigerians, driven by information dissemination emphasizing handwashing and personal hygiene.
“With the funding we received from WSSCC, who has been funding Sanitation and Hygiene work in 10 LGAs across Benue and Cross River states, we have received the go-ahead to leave no one behind, and extend our support to all 41 LGAs in both states.”
Dr Ben Agenda, the Executive Secretary of the Benue Primary Health Care Board (BPHCB), commended the initiative adding that the “gesture by WSSCC and United Purpose is not just in support of the fight against COVID-19 but to a larger extent in support of basic hygiene.”
On behalf of Dr Eunice Ortom, First Wife of the Governor of Benue State, Mr Agrenor Tinor, Programme Manager, Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, commended the RUSHPIN Programme and its contributions towards the fight against COVID-19 in the State.
“As the WASH Ambassador for Benue State, I greatly appreciate the contributions of the RUSHPIN Programme towards the fight against COVID-19 and the improvement of sanitation and hygiene in Benue State.”
“This is a great boost not only to the WASH sector but also to the health sector because once sanitation begins to fail, health care equally begins to suffer; the burden on healthcare facilities become enormous, and our people can be pushed into catastrophic expenditures that can result in impoverishments. So, we continue to remain grateful for your support,” said Dr Beta Edu, the Commissioner for Health, representing the Cross River State Government.