World Toilet Day: New cheap, hygienic toilet system excites Bauchi community…UNICEF preaches against open defecation

Members of Bakin-dai community during an interactive session with journalists on the use of the new toilet facility.

By Williams Ago

The use of a cheap, affordable, easy to install and hygienic toilet system has been embraced with excitement by the people of Baking-dai Community in Kafin-Kuka ward of Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

This is coming just as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) called for a more concerted effort towards eliminating open defecation in communities.

The call was made by Dr. Clement Adams, Officer-in-Charge/Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Bauchi Field Office, during a media dialogue on world toilet day 2023, held at Jamil Hotel, Azare, Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State.

Katagum Local Government Area is the latest among the 105 certified Open Defecation Free (ODF) LGA's out of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.

Some residents of Baking-dai community, in an interactive session with newsmen and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) stakeholders in the Local Council, expressed happiness on how the new technology has brought relief to them from contacting diseases associated with dirty environment such as cholera, typhoid and the likes.

In an interview with journalists, Shamsudeen Suleiman said his household has been using the new technology, which he replaced with the old dirty and unhygienic pit latrine for the past five months.

According to him, it has proven to be financially cost effective, created a clean environment for us and improved our health and hygiene.

He said, "when the WASH people came to our community over five months ago, we were really convinced and impressed with their explanation of how to improve the health and hygiene of our environment and that is what moved us to embrace it.

"We mobilized ourselves in different groups and started working towards achieving this clean and hygienic environment in our houses and public places such as mosques, schools, markets, among others, by providing disinfectants, soaps and water for these places. I bought three of the Sato pans for my household and we all have been enjoying it," he stated.

One of the installer of the new Sato toilet pans, Malam Ado Bala, told our correspondent that the local WASH committee of the area and that of the LGA played a significant role in the success story of installing the Sato pans in many of the houses.

He said, "it is affordable to virtually everyone in the community as it cost just about N3,500 and not more than N1,500 to install it in a particular toilet. I have installed no fewer than 50 in this community," he stated.

Some users of the new technology bared their minds to our correspondent. Halima Mohammed, 45 years old woman, and Umar Mohammed, 18 years old, expressed how user-friendly and hygienic it has been for all ages, including children and women who are susceptible to contacting virginal infections from the old pit latrines.

"It is very simple, easy and clean to use for the aged and children and people with disabilities as it does not allow smell anywhere. It accommodates the use of limited water and is generally clean", they all confirmed.

However, during the media dialogue to mark the World Toilet Day 2023 celebration with the theme, "Accelerating change, taking simple actions to bring about change," the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, said poor toilet hygiene practice has remained the common causes of diseases in most communities.

He said 48 million Nigerians still practice open defecation and called on stakeholders in the WASH sector to redouble efforts to ensure that open defecation is eliminated in Nigerian communities.

The world toilet day, he said, is celebrated every year to bring attention to the undeniable importance of safe and hygienic toilets in our daily lives, especially in terms of health, education and socioeconomic development.

“Access to safe and clean toilets prevents the spread of diseases, access to safe toilets means children, especially girls, and women are protected from the risks of attacks and abuse if they had to go into bushes to defecate, access to basic WASH services is integral to school enrolment, attendance, retention and completion," he said.

In his address, the Bauchi State commissioner for water resources, Alhaji Nuhu Zaki, expressed the State government's determination to work for the actualization of SDG 6.2 target and the overall attainment of State-wide ODF by 2025.

He said, the State government delivered eight local governments as Local Governments Open Defecation Free. They are, Dass, Warji, Shira, Gamawa, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Toro and Katagum LGAs.

According to him, "5,934 communities were delivered ODF while two other LGAs were at different levels of becoming ODF, that is, Bauchi and Zaki LGA's.

"One of the sustainability process is the training of private entrepreneurs on sanitation marketing for improved latrine construction at household and public places like markets and motor parks where 194 toilets business owners (TBOs), 582 masons were trained and 116 toilet constructed.

"Awareness were created through promotional activities by the government and toilet business owners on the need for improve latrine uptake and there is high demand for improve latrine by households, however, inadequate funds from household and TBOS becomes a bottleneck.

"These TBOS were handed and linked to micro-finance institutions where they access funds for improved latrine construction on revolving basis and for business expansion by the TBOs. 

"The issuance of revolving loan to households by MFIs FastTrack improved latrine uptake. Construction and usage of improved latrines is a dignity, pride, disease prevention, economy prevention of water pollution to all, I therefore, urge all to used improved latrine for fecal management", the commissioner said.
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