AN URGENT CALL FOR THE ADOPTION OF THE LAGOS WASH POLICY FOLLOWING THE CANCELLATION OF THE MONTHLY ENVIRONMENTAL SANITAION EXERCISE

 

The Advocacy and Campaigns Coalition (ACC) is a platform of Civil Society Networks in Lagos State working with other relevant stakeholders  to reduce mortality and morbidity from diarrhea in under 5 children within the framework of the WHO /UNICEF 7point plan for diarrhea control.

The attention of the ACC has been drawn to the recent cancellation of the monthly environmental sanitation exercise in Lagos state.

The ACC is disturbed by the reason of “present economic realities in the country” given for the cancellation. With due respect this apparent attempt to promote economic benefits above clean and healthy environment is capable of undermining people centered governance being promoted by the current administration in Lagos state.  The reality is that there cannot be economic viability without clean and healthy environment which impacts on the productivity of the people.

We are all the more concerned that the exercise was cancelled without any stop gap measure in place to preserve the gains of sound environmental sanitation, self discipline and strict adherence to standard hygiene rules and practices promoted in the last 20 years by the rested environmental sanitation exercise.

Of utmost concern is the inability of the government to muster enough political will in adopting the Lagos State Water Supply and Sanitation (WASH) Policy which has been in the pipeline for several years.

These portend grave consequences for public health and sustainable sanitation especially in the face of deteriorating state of public water supply and sanitation services in the state.

It is acknowledged  that hygiene practices are generally poor in the state due to inadequate access to portable  water (10% or roughly 2.1 Million people in Lagos  have access to potable water )  and sanitation services as well as moral decadence to the environment. This poor state of water and sanitation has contributed significantly to the high prevalence of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, malaria and typhoid.

Significantly, Lagos has the 2nd highest prevalence of diarrhea rate in South West Nigeria (7.5%) after Oyo state (9.2%) having an average diarrhea incidence of 13% or 520,000 cases per annum. These diseases also accounts for the rise in morbidity, mortality and absenteeism in schools and at work.

  • OUR DEMANDS
  • That Lagos State Governor uses his good office to as a matter of urgency adopt the draft Lagos State WASH Policy and roll out an effective implementation plan
  • That all relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and stakeholders responsible for the review of environmental Laws of Lagos state speed up action on it and ensure the passage of the Law before the end of first quarter of 2017.
  • Regular updates should be given to the general populace with respect to progress on the passage of the harmonized environmental Laws.

Conclusion

It is incontestable that improvement in mortality rates from preventable diseases such as typhoid, diarrhea, cholera and malaria, etc., was because of improved standard of environmental sanitation. Thus, we believe that a well planned, coordinated and implemented environmental sanitation policy for disease prevention and control is what Lagos State needs at this time, given the megacity status of the state.

 

Ms Gbemisola Akosa

ACC Coordinator

The ACC comprises: Lagos State Gender Advocacy Team (LASGAT) / Centre for 21st Century Issues (C21st) (Gbemisola Akosa), Lagos State Civil Society Partnership (LACSOP) (Ayo Adebusoye), Youth WASH (Titilola Kazeem), National Orientation Agency (Aderemi Olaniyan), Partnership for Good Governance (Vivian Emesomwu), Climate Wednesday (Olumide Idowu), Child Protection Network (Ngozi Okoro), Network for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), ( Henry Adenigba), WASH Media Network (Michael Simire) and Community Coalition (Francis Ogunbanjo).