17 January 2013

Nigeria: Will the New Mobile Toilets Check Open Defecation in Sokoto?

Sokoto — The habit of defecating indiscriminately in the open has been a source of concern to many in the society. Some take it as a tradition to answer the call of nature in any available open ground, but such habit environmental health experts say poses a threat to public health as mortality rates rise due to sanitation related diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery and typhoid.

The weekly Epidemiology Report of Federal Ministry of Health reported 23,366 cases of cholera in 2011 with 742 deaths in 203 local government areas of 26 states in Nigeria.

There have been calls for enhanced access to improved sanitation facilities towards better sanitation practices in the country.

In Sokoto, mobile toilet is being introduced as a pilot scheme towards boosting environmental health in the state. But the question is, will this introduction translate to an effective and sustainable environmental sanitation intervention?

Permanent Secretary, Sokoto State Ministry for Environment, Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed said the idea of mobile toilet is an effort by the state government to provide conveniences to the public especially in certain locations where the amenities are not available.

He said considering the rise in population and commercial activities in Sokoto, the existing facilities have been overstretched. This, he added was why the state government went into partnership with a private firm, Tsafta Hygiene Nig Ltd, to provide such conveniences.

The permanent secretary said they are working out modalities on how the scheme is going to be managed.

Director, Environmental Health and Pollution Control in the ministry, Hassan Wakili, also told Daily Trust that the department and the ministry have been trying to bring positive change towards ensuring that they provide sustainable environment for the citizenry in line with objectives of the present administration in the state.

He said they are poised towards ensuring proper mobilization of the public towards effective use of the mobile toilets.

Daily Trust learnt that 26 units of the mobile toilets were being provided for the pilot scheme across the metropolis, at a contract sum of N11 million.

It was gathered that the first consignment of eight units of the mobile toilets has been received while distribution has also commenced to strategic locations in the state.

The mobile toilets are to be stationed in areas with high commercial activities and human traffic such as Sokoto central, New flyover, Maigero theatre, Maiduguri Road, among others.

Many in the state say such facilities if properly patronized, would help considerably in checking the prevailing situation of indiscriminate open defecation.

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