In furtherance of efforts to inculcate the habit of handwashing on the society especially to the grassroots as this has been identified as the most effective prevention measures against infectious diseases, the Oyo State Government through the state’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) with collaboration from Living Word Mission (LIWOM), took its sensitisation campaign to major open markets in Ibadan.
Already the campaign has been taken to Alesinloye, Bodija, Oritamefa and Ojaba markets among others in line with activities under the Scale-Up Hygiene project, an initiative of WaterAid Nigeria to reach 12 million people in six states which include Oyo and Ekiti states in the South-West.
The aim of the project includes ensuring citizens are better informed on the importance of handwashing as a primary behaviour that is the most effective means of preventing spread of communicable diseases and ensure state governments prioritise improved hygiene practices and behavioural change on a massive scale along with provision of hygiene facilities.
This is the basis to market campaign as part of efforts to ensure people, especially those in rural communities, understand the significance of handwashing with soap and water as one of the simplest and most cost-effective intervention for prevention of diseases in Oyo State.
The sensitisation by the Oyo State Government to markets at the weekend was basically to educate citizens on the need to imbibe the culture of hand washing regularly.
Speaking during the campaign, the state Director of Sanitation for RUWASSA, Shotonwa John-Roagess, emphasised the importance of water in maintaining good hygiene, adding that it was compulsory and necessary to scale up hygiene in the state to prevent spread of infectious diseases.
According to her, there are criteria that qualify a public place for the donation of permanent and semi-permanent hand washing facilities and the Oritamefa market has all it takes to house the facility that will be situated at Ile-Atere in Oja-Oba area of the state.
Also speaking, a representative of the Living Word Mission who is also the project officers for the Scale-Up Hygiene project, Oyesanwo Funmilayo, said LIWOM is a non-governmental organisation working with WaterAid Nigeria in executing the Scale up hygiene project in the state, stressing that all partners are determined to continue funding for the state in collaboration with Heineken Africa Foundation to provide hand washing facility within 20 local government across the state in six months.
She noted that while campaign had been on for the people of all age groups; men and women, old and young to do regular washing of their hand, pointing out that the donors believed that supporting the community would help to scale up hygiene in the state which would improve the health of the people in the state.
She added that LIWOM had also embarked on advocacy visits to religious and traditional leaders encouraging them to endorse scale up hygiene among the people at all levels and the sensitisation started in Aleshinloye, Oja-Oba and Bodija markets respectively where hygiene messages from leaders were aired.
LIWOM finance officer, Adeniyi Bukola added that fund had been made available to ensure the project got to every place where it is like needed but called on citizens to use the facilities to improve their health and that of their families and imbibe a maintenance culture so that the vision and purpose will not be lost.
She commended Oyo state RUWASSA and the donors; WaterAid and Heineken Africa Foundation for the support to continue the new normal for the people of the state.
Other activities under the projects include distribution of hygiene packs to 12,000 households and 6000 people living with disabilities as well as provision of increased water and handwashing facilities; over 1000 non-contact and inclusive handwashing facilities for healthcare centres, schools and other key strategic public places in Oyo State to facilitate efforts aimed at curbing spread of diseases.
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