Researchers to unveil techniques for controlling weeds in cassava

Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture(IITA),Ibadan, Dr Kenton Dashiell; Project Leader, Cassava Weed Management Project, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon; Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lawrence Kent; and the Technical Advisor,(Africa & Middle East) ,Agronomic Product Development, Bayer CropScience, Dr Mohammed Elsherif, at the 2017 Cassava Weed Management Project annual workshop at IITA, Ibadan on Monday.

Deputy Director-General, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture(IITA),Ibadan, Dr Kenton Dashiell; Project Leader, Cassava Weed Management Project, IITA, Dr Alfred Dixon; Senior Programme Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Lawrence Kent; and the Technical Advisor,(Africa & Middle East) ,Agronomic Product Development, Bayer CropScience, Dr Mohammed Elsherif, at the 2017 Cassava Weed Management Project annual workshop at IITA, Ibadan on Monday.

Researchers working under the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture led Cassava Weed Management Project (IITA-CWMP) will this week share findings and recommendations on how to tackle weeds in cassava farming systems.

The sharing of research findings is part of activities marked for a week-long annual review and planning meeting and Steering Committee meeting scheduled to hold 27-30 March 2017 at IITA in Ibadan.

“We are optimistic that the key findings from our research will help farmers to tackle the problem of weeds in cassava, with the view to having more yield,” says the Project Leader of IITA-CWMP, Dr Alfred Dixon, who is also a Director with IITA on Monday.

Declaring the meeting open, Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnership for Delivery, said the goal of the project was to take off drudgery due to weeding in cassava farming systems.

“I am happy that this meeting will share findings that will impact positively on weed control,” Dr Dashiell said.

Grown on about 7 million hectares, cassava is a major staple in Nigeria and it has transited from a food security crop to a cash crop. However, yield per ha of the root crop is about 8 tons per ha or less than half the amount realised on research stations. One of the major factors affecting the yield of cassava is weeds. Most of those involved in weeding are women and children, often times skipping classes to assist in weeding in Nigeria.

In 2014, the Cassava Weed Management Project was conceived to address the problem of weeds in cassava. The 5-year project which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is exploring diverse weeds control methods including the use of simple motorised implements, use of safe and environmentally friendly herbicides, and the use of best-bet agronomic practices.

This year, which is the fourth, researchers, will make available findings of what has been done over the period.

Lawrence Kent of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said the findings of the project would contribute to improvement of cassava with positive impact on women and children who bear the burden of weeding in cassava.

“Our major task in this meeting is to translate research findings into recommendations that farmers can use to improve cassava farming and their livelihoods,” he said.

Dr Dixon said the project is in an exciting phase. “This is an exciting time for us… Because we are going to begin the sharing of new findings to farmers and farmers will begin to benefit,” Dr Dixon said.

The IITA Cassava Weed Management Project is being implemented in Nigeria by IITA in partnership with the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, University of Agriculture Makurdi, and the state-based Agricultural Development Programs of Abia, Benue, Ogun, Oyo; and non-governmental organisations including the Justice Development and Peace Movement (JDPM) in Oyo and Abeokuta, and KOLPING in Abia.

For more information, please contact: Godwin Atser,, Communication & Knowledge Exchange Expert.




Meningitis outbreak kills nearly 270 in Nigeria: officials

Nigeria lies in the so-called


Abuja (AFP) – Nearly 270 people, most of them children, have died in the past five months during the latest meningitis outbreak to hit Nigeria, public health officials said Wednesday.

“Presently we have 1,828 suspected cases… and we have 269 deaths in about 15 states,” Olubunmi Ojo of the National Centre for Disease Control told local television.

At least five northern states — Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger — and the Federal Capital Territory have been hit hard and have crossed the threshold for an epidemic, she added.

Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, director of disease control at the federal ministry of health in Abuja, said those six states accounted for 1,090 infected people and 154 deaths.

“Zamfara State alone recorded 590 cases, out of which 29 people have died,” he told AFP.

Laboratory tests have confirmed that the disease was of a new Type C strain, he added.

The World Health Organization said on March 24 that children aged five to 14 were the most affected age group in this latest epidemic, accounting for about half of all reported cases.

A large-scale vaccination programme had begun, it added.

Nigeria lies in the so-called “meningitis belt” of sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east, where outbreaks of the disease are a regular occurence.

The country and neighbouring Niger were both badly hit by meningitis outbreaks in 2015, when over 13,700 people were infected in six months, with more than 1,100 deaths.

Meningitis is caused by different types of bacteria, six of which can cause epidemics. It is transmitted between people through coughs and sneezes, and facilitated by cramped living conditions and close contact.

The illness causes acute inflammation of the outer layers of the brain and spinal cord, with the most common symptoms being fever, headache and neck stiffness.



Nigeria: ‘Schools Lack Sufficient Toilets, Clean Water’


Comrade Idris Ismail Kehinde is the chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Gwagwalada branch in the FCT. In this interview he speaks on the challenges facing the union; poor infrastructure and shortage of teachers among others. Excerpt:

What are the major challenges facing teachers and students in Gwagwalada Area Council?

We are facing a number of challenges. The major challenge is that we don’t have a secretariat building for the union. If someone can come around and say I am building a secretariat for the union, we shall appreciate and give him the necessary support. Teachers have poor working conditions; the issue of teachers’ welfare is something that we have to lobby for before we get any improvement.

I think the present administration should be responsive and alert; it should know that the country can’t progress without honouring teachers. It has to change the way teachers are treated. Teachers are the ones left with the responsibility of addressing the discipline of children yet their welfare is poor. Do you know that in FCT if a teacher is transferred he won’t get his transfer allowance? This is very bad. I know of a teacher who was transferred to a school in another town and had to struggle to move there with his family without any transfer allowance.

Lack of housing allowance is another challenge. During the administration of then FCT minister, Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i, he looked at the peculiarity of Abuja and he was paying us 100 per cent housing rent, but we discovered that the previous administration had sliced off about 40 per cent housing of the allowance. They were paying us about 60 percent.

Another thing is that we are not benefitting from housing scheme of the Federal Mortgage Bank. We have been contributing but we have not seen the benefit. There should be hazard allowance and dressing allowance but we don’t get any. It is that bad.

What effort are you making to ensure that government addresses the dearth of teachers in schools?

The issue of poor teacher/pupil ratio is common everywhere in the FCT. The effort we are making in this regard is that we are discussing with the LEA secretary to ensure that government employs more teachers. We are equally calling on the federal government to send more N-Power teachers to our schools. So, we are putting pressure on the education secretary to ensure that enough teachers are employed.

Schools are facing dearth of teachers but we can’t say exactly the required number needed now to tackle the situation. We have enough classes in Gwagwalada that is why we don’t merge classes. Schools have good infrastructure and you can attest to this yourself. The classes are big enough to accommodate the children.


Nigeria: Govt Confirms 117 Abandoned Water Projects – Minister


There are 117 abandoned water projects in the federal ministry of water resources, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu has said.

The minister said with the Technical Audit of the projects, the ministry will complete about 25% of the viable ones this year.

He disclosed this when the House Committee on Water Resources paid him an oversight visit in his office in Abuja.

Adamu reiterated his earlier stand that the ministry would not be involved in the construction of new projects, adding that the emphasis of is to complete part of the abandoned 117 water projects nationwide.

He called for adequate and timely release of budgetary allocations to the sector in order to contribute towards the realization of the policy thrust of this administration.

He also called on members of the Committee to comply with guidelines that would be encapsulated in the yet to be released Water Resources Master Plan in selecting constituency projects.

Responding, chairman of the Committee, Aliyu Pategi said the visit which as part of their constitutional duties, was aimed at scrutinizing the Ministry’s books and addressing its general performance with emphasis on the 2015/2016 financial year.

He said the Committee hopes to further strengthen its good relationship with the ministry for the benefit of the nation.


Climate Change: Threatening The Health Of Nigerians

By: Odimegwu Onwumere

Ngozi is a lady in her middle 20s and was a pump attendant at a newly built filling station along the Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway by Imo River Bridge, Uzuaku, Abia State.

She was curious to earn a living, but could not bear with the brunt of weather conditions as a result of climate change at her once job place. She was falling ill at every given point in time while her job lasted.

“When it rained, the downpour was usually heavy, making the expressway not to be pliable. Likewise, when it was dry, dust that vehicles raised was unbearable,” Ngozi lamented.

She told this writer that she was always sick when she was working at the filling station, perhaps, due to petrol emission or something, unlike now she is at home. Ngozi was afraid that something was wrong with the ozone layer. “I was always falling sick while at my duty post. I’m not yet okay. The weather was not favourable to me because of the openness of the filling station,” she said.

Many Nigerians are suffering the existing health threats and the emerging ones as a result of climate change. Climate change is intensifying with dimensions in age, economic resources, and location.

As a panelist on a Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) programme, the Minister of State for Environment, Usman Jubril, said recently, “The effects of climate change are felt at every sight of the country. Rising global temperatures would have a catastrophic effect on human health and patterns of infection would change, with insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever spreading more easily.”

Dr. Oyinlola Oduyebo, a medical microbiologist at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, said: “There are some infections that occur in season, so naturally if there is a change in season or climate there will have to be changes in the type of infections and in the manner that there were originally known to occur.”

Mr. Kolawole Ajanaku, Head of Department of Environmental Services, Ikeja Local Government Area (LGA), Lagos State, was afraid in a public presentation, saying: “Change in temperature could bring a lot of environmental problems. When sunlight reaches earth’s surface, it can either be reflected back into space or absorbed by earth. Once absorbed, the planet releases some of the energy back into the atmosphere as heat (also called infrared radiation).

“Greenhouse gases like water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) absorb energy, slowing or preventing the loss of heat to space. In this way, GHGs act like a blanket, making earth warmer than it would otherwise be.

“But the climate we have come to expect is not what it used to be, because the past is no longer a reliable predictor of the future. Our climate is rapidly changing with disruptive impacts, and that change is progressing faster than any seen in the last 2,000 year.”

Ngozi is one among many Nigerians who are sick as a result of the impact of climate change. The impacts of climate change cannot be overemphasised as they are affecting people physically and mentally, with scientists at the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying that the earth’s middling temperature has risen to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past century.

“All pathogens, viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites are temperature-sensitive. Furthermore, they have differences in how they reproduce and they infect people and other animals based on the temperature they are living at,” said an Associate Director of the Centre for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard University, Dr. Aaron Bernstein.

The Director, Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET), Joseph Alozie, who was also a panelist on the NTA programme, bared his fears, “From 2015-2016 research shows a reduction in rainfall, which will bring about shorter length of season thereby affecting farmers making them choose which seed variety to plant.”

Alozie added, “There will be further dry spells especially in the northern part of Nigeria. Since November 2015 Nigerians have witnessed drier conditions, stronger Harmattan even in Abuja a lot of dust is in suspension and flights have been cancelled, suspended and even delayed.”

The causative factors of illnesses are related to flooding, weakened infrastructure like the over flooded Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway, depleted agricultural production, destroyed livelihoods, pollution, and forced migration.

“The negative impacts of climate change such as temperature rise, erratic rainfall, sand storms, desertification, low agricultural yield, drying up of water bodies and flooding are real in the desert prone 11 front states of Nigeria. This leads to increasing population pressure, intensive agricultural land use, overgrazing, bush burning, extraction of fuel wood and other biotic resources.”

Prof. Fuwape Agboola of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, made the above disclosure early this year during the opening ceremony of the fourth biennial international conference and exhibition on environmental matters (ICEI4) organised by Environmental Research Group of the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, in juxtaposition with the Centre for Atmospheric Research of the National Space Research and Development Agency (CAR-NARSDA), Anyigba, Abuja.

“Temperatures are projected to rise from 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.13 to 6.42 degrees Celsius) over the next 100 years,” Agboola added.

There is apprehension that women and children are chiefly the most vulnerable to the forces of climate change. Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated the costs to health from climate change to be linking US$ 2-4 billion per year by 2030, across the world. When this is the case, Nigerians like Ngozi who do not make up to $1 a day, would be tremendously dealt with by climate change due to their exposure to chronic poverty.

Climate change is affecting agricultural produce seriously. Agricultural economist like Dr. Temidayo Apata at Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, was among those in this line of thought. Against this backdrop, Nkechi Isaac, a public affairs commentator cried out, “Nigeria is vulnerable to the impact of global warming on many fronts of her geography, climate, vegetation, soils, economic structure, population, energy demands and agricultural activities.

“The country’s large rural population depends on agriculture, fisheries and natural resources such as water, biodiversity and grassland. The adaptive capacity of the rural majority to climate change is very low. The operation of the nation’s oil and gas sector makes Nigeria a major emitter of greenhouse gases in Africa.”

Apata remarked recently that Nigeria is experiencing higher temperatures and when there is poor turnout of agricultural produce, there is bound to be malnutrition. The agricultural economist brought into line, fears to the flooding that ravaged the Niger Delta region in 2012, where households and millions of property were destroyed to the flooding, as one of the climate change impacts threatening the country.

With this, Apata predicted that 30 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may be lost by 2050, if severe moves are not taken to put modalities in place in order to dwarf the bad effects of climate change. In the same line, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, feared that there are natural disasters in the country resulting from weather change.



Shell seeks to block Nigeria pollution claims in London court

London (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Tuesday urged a High Court judge in Britain to block pollution claims brought against it by more than 40,000 Nigerians, demanding the case be heard in Nigeria instead.

Lawyers for the claimants are demanding action from Shell to clean up oil spills that have devastated their Niger Delta communities for decades.

But Royal Dutch Shell lawyer Peter Goldsmith told High Court of England and Wales judge Peter Fraser that the cases concerned “fundamentally Nigerian issues”, and shouldn’t be heard in London.

“The claims raise issues of Nigerian common law, customary law and legislation,” he said during the first day of the three-day hearing.

“The events are said to have occurred in Nigeria and the alleged physical damage is all said to be found in Nigeria.”

Shell pointed out that the case involves its Nigerian subsidiary SPDC, which runs a joint venture with the government.

Goldsmith said the case was aimed at “procuring an ‘anchor defendant'” to establish the High Court’s jurisdiction over SPDC, opening the door for further claims.

Daniel Leader from legal firm Leigh Day, which is representing the claimants, said oil spills from Shell’s pipelines had “blighted the lives of the thousands of Nigerians who live in Ogale and Bille” communities.

“It is clear to the claimants that Royal Dutch Shell is ultimately responsible for failing to ensure that its Nigerian subsidiary operates without causing environmental devastation,” he said in a statement.

“At the moment these communities have no choice — they have to take them to court to get them to act.”

King Emere Godwin Bebe Okpabi of the Ogale community told AFP his community had no option but to seek a ruling in London.

“Shell is Nigeria and Nigeria is Shell,” he said. “You can never, never defeat Shell in a Nigerian court. The truth is that the Nigerian legal system is corrupt.”

SPDC claims that the main sources of pollution in Ogale and Bille are “crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage and illegal refining.”



Nigeria: Only 36 Percent Nigerians Have Access to Improved Sanitation


The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, has said access to improved sanitation is still very poor at 36 per cent for majority of the Nigerian populace.

Jibril spoke on Monday at an event to mark the World Toilet Day 2016 in Abuja. He cited the National Demographic and Health Survey noting that absence of adequate sanitary facilities in schools constituted a great threat to school enrolment, particularly for the female children.

“Permit me to call on every household and community to ensure that they practise the habit of safe excreta disposal by building and owning a toilet in their environment,” he urged.

The World Toilet Day is marked every November 19 to highlight the efforts at curbing open defecation and promotion of environmental hygiene.

WaterAid Nigeria, an environmental firm in Abuja, had at the weekend said 58 million out of 700 million urban dwellers around the world who are living without basic sanitation are Nigerians.

The firm also revealed that 13.5million people living in Nigerian towns and cities have no choice but to defecate in the open, using the roadsides, railway tracks and even plastic bags.

The Country Director, Water Aid Nigeria, Dr. Michael Ojo, at the briefing said a new analysis ranked Nigeria as the third globally and the worst in Sub-Saharan Africa for having the most urban-dwellers living without a safe, private toilet.

‘Toilet and Jobs’, as the theme for this year’s event, got the minister’s reaction as he said he was not aware of the firm’s rating.

“That is news to me but we are trying our best. It is not about the ministry alone, it is about all of us as ‘Change Begins with Us’.

“We are partnering with many private organisations. We are going to use EHORCON to sensitise people to get them to be on the frame with us so that at the end of the day on the rating, if we don’t come first, then we will not go beyond the second place again in terms of having functional and clean toilet facilities,” the minister said.

The Registrar, Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORCON), Mr. Dominic Abonyi, said they were making efforts on heightening researches on environmental sanitation.

“We are going to start with three universities – Bayero University, Kano, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and the University of Ibadan – where we will start environmental health training at degree level.

“With this, in the next two years, figures of sanitation infrastructure, utilisation or behaviour will become real and no longer based on projections and external people who are helping us in Nigeria.

“We are going to have robust research and bring the report to what it ought to be,” he assured.


5 Reasons Nigeria Has Become a Dumping Ground For Electronic Waste

Wikipedia describes electronic waste or e-waste as discarded electrical or electronic devices. It added that they are used electronics which are destined for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling or disposal are also considered e-waste.

Surprisingly, these discarded electronic devices don’t end up in China, The United States of America, Indonesia, and England. They come straight to Africa and route it to Nigeria. So, why is Nigeria an attractive destination for e-waste? Jumia Travel , identifies 5 reasons.

We love cheap products
Cheap products and some Nigerians are like Siamese twins. They are inseparable. Funny enough, some sellers will encourage you to buy a fairly used product rather than a new one. This, according to them, is because the fairly used one is better when it comes to quality. This is perhaps why we have fairly used gadgets flooding the country. Also, they are very cheap. For some Nigerians, it’s cost over quality. In a recent report, “Nigeria dangerously consumes technologies which have 90% foreign input and a paltry 10% local input.”

Non-performing government agencies
The acting head of the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) Paul Angya said recently SON has no opportunity to inspect goods brought in through Nigerian seaports which account for over 90% of goods brought into the country as the agency is not allowed to operate in the ports thereby making smugglers of fake products have a field day. If 90% of goods entering this country are not checked, you can only imagine how many of them are e-waste. We also have Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency and The National Standards and Regulations Environmental Agency. They are arguably lame duck government bodies.

It is no gainsaying corruption has eaten into the fabric of the Nigerian society. The customs and even SON who are in charge of checking these products may simply turn a blind eye to these e-wastes as far as you can rub their palms or make them happy!

We don’t manufacture anything
A country that doesn’t manufacture anything opens the door for anything to come in including e-waste. This is why the recession is shattering the economy. We only rely on importers to import everything we use in this country.

Anything sells in Nigeria
If Nigerians can buy drugs in commercial buses, then what else can’t they buy? We have the population. So, since anything sells in Nigeria and the business environment is poorly regulated, then e-waste will continue to be dumped in the country despite the toxic dangers inherent in them. And trust Nigerians, they will gladly buy!



Nigeria: Lagos Residents Express Mixed Feelings Over Cancellation of Monthly Environmental Sanitation

Some Lagos residents on Thursday expressed mixed feelings over the cancellation of the monthly sanitation exercise by the state government, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The residents stated their feelings in interviews with NAN.

Those who supported the government’s decision said that it would give people time to go about their economic activities on the last Saturday of the month.

However, people who opposed the decision said the cancellation could result in making the environment dirtier than the present situation.

NAN further reports that the government had announced the cancellation after the weekly State Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Steve Ayorinde, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, who announced the cancellation, said it was no more appropriate to lock down the state for three hours, in a 24-hour economy like Lagos.

He added the restriction of movements no more suited the state’s economy, saying the government would instead look at other innovative and more holistic ways of improving the environment.

Mr Morufu Adelaja, a member of Igbogila Residents Association, Ipaja, said the government’s action was a step in the right direction.

“We are happy with the decision because what it means is that we would no longer be forced to stay at home to clean our environment.

“The former restriction affected us a lot; we could not attend to businesses and other matters for three hours. This is indeed great news, ” he said.

Adelaja, however, urged residents not to take the cancellation for granted, urging them to keep their surroundings clean all the time.

Mr Emeka Ude, a trader at the Aregbesola Market, Iyana-Ipaja, said the cancellation of the exercise would have great impacts on businesses in Lagos.

He said the man-hours and money lost to the restriction was much, saying the action would further promote economic activities in the state.

“The cancellation is good for us. We can now attend to our customers on time and make more money. That does not mean we will now neglect the cleaning of our environment.

Mr Bariyu Kazeem, an engineer in Ayobo, said the restriction was demeaning and was an affront on the rights of the residents to unhindered movements.

“At least, the cancellation will remove this bad stereotype. We can now move freely and still clean our environment,” he said.

Mrs Catherine Adesuwa, a teacher, however, faulted the cancellation, saying that it would take Lagos back to the era of filth.

She said Lagosians were busy people and that some people needed to be restricted before they could clean their neighbourhoods.

” The restriction came because Lagos was dirty, people would not clear their refuse or drains.

“While it lasted, the results were great. Now that we are cancelling it, are we not going back to those filthy days,” she wondered?


Nigeria: WaterAid Renews Call for Improved Access to Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

WaterAid has launched a new campaign for health professionals, calling on them to take action to call for improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities around the world.

The international organisation, which seeks a world where everyone has access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.

In a release issued in Abuja by WaterAid Nigeria Communications & Campaigns Manager, Oluseyi Abdulmalik, the organisation noted that some 38 per cent of hospitals and clinics in low- and middle-income countries around the world do not have regular access to water; even more do not have basic, private toilets and a way to wash hands with soap. In sub-Saharan Africa, some 42 per cent of healthcare facilities do not have access to water, it added.

According to a World Health Organisation report “Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities: status in low and middle income countries and way forward”, almost a third (29 per cent) of hospitals and clinics in Nigeria do not have access to clean water and the same percentage do not have safe toilets. The report also shows that one in six (16 per cent) do not have anywhere to wash hands with soap.

The statement also noted that a lack of water and sanitation, combined with poor hygiene, also contributes to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics as they are used to stand in for soap and water in infection prevention, resulting in higher levels of anti-microbial resistance.

WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, Dr. Michael Ojo, said: “Clean, plentiful water, good sanitation and good hygiene including handwashing with soap are absolutely essential to effective healthcare. Yet almost a third of hospitals and clinics in Nigeria are without even rudimentary access to water. It is unacceptable that patients and medical workers are exposed to such risk of infection.

“The ability to keep a hospital or clinic clean is such a fundamental basic requirement of health care and within the Sustainable Development Goal 6 commitment to ensuring everyone has access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030, we want to see healthcare facilities prioritised – no new hospitals or clinics should be built without water and sanitation.

“There must be individual and collective responsibility for ensuring hygienic conditions in health centres. We need everyone involved in leading and shaping health services to work together to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are protected.”

 Hygiene, and in particular handwashing, are frequently overlooked, and yet they make a huge difference to the health and wellbeing of the global population. Out of all water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions, hygiene promotion has proven to be particularly effective in reducing mortality and morbidity from child diarrhoea, and has been identified as the most cost-effective disease control intervention

Handwashing is also critical for maximising the health benefits of investments in water supply and sanitation infrastructure and combating many health risks.

“As the next World Health Assembly approaches in May 2017, WaterAid is calling for more political priority and more funding to be devoted to this critical building block for health to ensure no health centre is forced to make do without, and we are pleased to see health professionals from around the world joining our call”, the release added.

Through the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, world leaders have promised to ensure everyone everywhere has access to safe water and sanitation by 2030. To keep that promise, ensuring water, sanitation and hygiene at every level of health services must be a priority, WaterAid added.