Government, leaders and other Institutional Stakeholders have been tasked to make the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services for all a priority along with the promotion of hygienic behavioural change on a massive scale as a panacea to curtailing the spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Country.
Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Dr. Dayo Oladebeye made the call in a keynote address delivered at the 2020 Engineering Week of the Ado-Ekiti branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers held on Tuesday, 18th August, 2020.
Delivering the lecture, titled: “The Role of Adequate Water Supply, Sanitation, Hygiene Infrastructure in Combating the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria” Dr. Oladebeye stressed that the need to massively invest in sanitation and hygiene services has become inevitable as a means to curtail the spread, if this is not done, the Country remains vulnerable and might not be able to adequately protect itself against other outbreaks in the future, he noted.
Speaking further, he implored Government at all levels, private organisations and individuals to ensure that basic water, sanitation and hygiene needs are met to preserve the health and well-being of all people and provide practical and financial support to water and sanitation service providers.
In addition, they should also promote efficient use of water in the homes and public places, ensure a minimum daily volume of drinking water for all households and provide technical and financial support to utilities, as adequate water supply is the nexus to effective sanitation and hygiene to combat the spread of COVID-19, he enunciated. Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the occasion Prof. Olugbenga Aribisala, observed that Nigeria is one of the leading countries in the world with sanitation problem, adding that the water we have is limited and to compound this problem, there is currently a delay in the hydrological cycle which will invariably lead to draught.
In another lecture delivered at the same event, Engr. Bamidele Faparusi who is the Ekiti State Commissioner for Infrastructure and Public Utilities noted that personal and community hygiene is an effective and proven means of combating the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria. He pointed out that the infrastructure necessary for effective hand wash hygiene include pipe-borne water and faucet for home use and wash hand stations in public places.
He opined that, “As sanitation infrastructure will help in the disposal of waste water and feaces, the easing of lockdown implies that more people would need increase access to wash hand stations in public places such as schools, business and markets”.