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Enugu govt launches African sanitation policy guidelines, aims at improving basic sanitation

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The Enugu State Government, on Friday, launched the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) project while aiming at providing improved access to basic sanitation facilities within the state.

“The state is domesticating the ASPG project in order to develop and implement workable sanitation policies that can help improve the lives of millions of people across the state,” Special Adviser to the Enugu State Government on Water, Mr Dubem Onyia, said.

Onyia, who said this in Enugu while launching the domestication of the project in Enugu State, said that the project was not just about providing access to clean water and sanitation; but about empowering communities to take ownership of their own sanitation needs.

According to him, the guidelines will provide governments with a roadmap on how to improve sanitation infrastructure, develop policies, and increase funding for sanitation projects.

He said, “Sanitation is a fundamental human right, yet millions of people in Africa lack access to basic sanitation facilities. This has a significant impact on their health and well-being, and it hinders their ability to lead productive lives.

“According to a recent report by the World Health Organization, over 50 per cent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to basic sanitation facilities, which has led to increased cases of preventable diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, and typhoid fever.”

Onyia appreciated WaterAid for working tirelessly to improve access to clean water and sanitation in developing countries and in Enugu State, adding: “The ASPG project is another step in the right direction”.

Speaking, Mr Adebayo Alao, Team Leader, Institutional Technical Assistance 3rd National Urban Water Sector Reform Project – Water Corporation Enugu State, said that there was a need to bring actual decision-makers/heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on board to make faster progress on the project.

Alao noted that what the ASPG project set out to achieve was to harmonise various efforts in sanitation policies, programmes and frameworks as well as make them effective for the people.

“The decision of Enugu State to domesticate this project is laudable and shows the seriousness and desire for the government to be open and get it right for the greater benefit of the people of the state,” he said.

Collaborating, Mr Solomon Akpanufot, the State Programme Lead, WaterAid, said that Enugu State is lucky to be one of the few states WaterAid would help launch the ASPG project.

Akpanufot said that WaterAid is looking forward to having all the MDAs and stakeholders in sanitation, hygiene, water and health to key into the project.

He noted that it was necessary to push the holistic sanitation narrative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on sanitation.

“We want to look at various policies of the various stakeholders and MDAs on sanitation and find out if there are still some gaps as well as see how government, WaterAid and other partners can address the gaps within the shortest time possible,” he said.

Mr Udochukwu Egwim, the South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) Programme Lead for ASPG Project, said that there was a need for the stakeholders and MDAs to work in unison and step-up speed through periodic meetings and set specific timelines for the ASPG project in the state.

Egwim said, “We have a lot to do to get the ASPG guidelines working, which will start with advocacies, follow-ups and accountability meetings with chief executives at various levels of governance or leadership. 

“Once we can have adequate and potable drinking water flowing in the state as well as proper waste management and evacuation courtesy of the government, the sanitation is being solved.

 “While the remaining will be how the residents’ attitude/culture of personal and environmental cleanliness as well as waste handling can be improved and in line with best hygienic practices.”

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