By Archibong Jeremiah
- 216 to be shared among the 18 LGAs of Cross River State, 384 by Benue State’s 23 Councils
To beef up efforts by Government in curtailing the spread of the novel coronavirus, United Purpose (UP) has donated 500 handwashing facilities to selected Primary Healthcare centers (PHCs) in Cross River and Benue States.
The donation by the international NGO that has been assisting the State for 20 years was through the Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (RUSHPIN) program.
Today (Thursday) was the flag off and handing over of 216 handwashing facilities to the Cross River State Government for onward distribution to the selected Primary Healthcare centers while 384 goes to Benue.
These handwashing facilities are to be distributed along with a three-month supply of soap. The benefiting PHCs were identified through an assessment of health facilities in the State carried out by the RUSHPIN program to determine which facilities were in dire need of the intervention.
Receiving the donation, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu thanked United Purpose for “always being there”.
She also thanked the UP team for their hard work in ensuring that some LGAs in the State are ODF (open defecation free).
According to her, “When sanitation begins to fail, healthcare system begins to suffer. Hand washing saves life, Ayade has done a lot to protect the lives of citizens, thank God we don’t have mass death”.
Urging all and sundry in the State to observe NCDC guidelines, she emphasized on social and physical distancing asserting that “if we work together we can achieve more, all NGOs, CSOs should emulate United Purpose.”
On her part, the State Director General of Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong after stating that “COVID-19 is real” maintained that “Ayade effort helped us not to get the virus early.”
Dr. Janet after lauding the international NGO reiterated that the fight against coronavirus is a collective one.
The first LGA to receive the handwashing facilities is Calabar Municipality which hosted the handing over of the facilities.
The Council Chairman Mr. Effefiong Eke thanked United Purpose for choosing his Local Government Area as first beneficiary.
Earlier, before the handover to the State, the Programme Manager for RUSHPIN, Mr. Nanpet Chuktu said, “Handwashing is not just about fighting coronavirus. Today, we urge the State Government to invest in more sustainable sanitation and hygiene infrastructure for health centers and schools, this is essential for good health.
“In the face of COVID-19 and the need to strengthen the health sector preparedness, our donor, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is supporting us to make sure that about 500 Primary Healthcare centers are equipped with Handwashing stations”.
The RUSHPIN program has been promoting improved sanitation and hygiene practices in both Cross River and Benue States and the provision of this emergency handwashing facilities is one of the ways the program is supporting the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in both States.
Handwashing sensitisation campaigns will be carried out further in the Five Hundred (500) healthcare centers identified in the 41 LGAs of both States to receive these handwashing facilities.
The RUSHPIN program is an initiative of the Government of Nigeria, implemented with funding support from the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF)/Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC).
United Purpose (UP), an International NGO headquartered in the UK, is the Executing Agency for the RUSHPIN program. RUSHPIN uses the ‘Community-Led Total Sanitation approach’, to empower communities to collectively change their sanitation and hygiene behaviour, ensuring that every community member uses a toilet and practices good hygiene.
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