By Patrick Obia, Kelvin Ololo and Marylyn Uyanah
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Media Network, Cross River State chapter in collaboration with Etak Ikot Development Committee of Friends has urged Cross Riverians to prioritize hygiene in assessing their toilet facilities to build a disease free society.
This was a take home message to participants marking the 2020 World Toilet Day held at Etak Ikot community, 8 Miles in Calabar Municipal Local Government Area with the theme: “Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change”.
In her welcome address, the WASH Media Network, Cross River State chapter Coordinator, Florence Oluohu said marking the day is worthwhile “because of the time we find ourselves in”.
She maintained that her network as a commitment to telling WASH related stories, thought it wise to mark the day in Etak Ikot because the community is one of those cut off from the mainstream development in the State.
“If we wait for Government for most of our needs, honestly we will be dead before they come to us … Like you have your development association, you now said, look this community do not have water, what do we do? How can we task ourselves to bring our friends from town to dig a borehole somewhere … We must start rising above this cultural whatever that has held us tight down and think ahead,” she encouraged.
On his part, the Coordinator of Ekot Ikot Development Committee of Friends, Bassey Asuquo who lamented that the challenge of the community range from huge erosion presence, lack of portable water and assess road said his organization is determined to drawing Government’s attention “because Government presence is not felt here at all”.
He thanked WASH Media Network for deeming it fit to mark the day with the community members stating that, his organization will spread the message to those not present.
He further appealed that the State Government should provide portable water to the community, and also fix pipe leakages so that every households can have access to portable water. “If the Government can assist to give us water our toilets will be kept clean and spread of diseases will be minimised,” he said.
Representative of the Director General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Ogar Winifred also cautioned participant of careless habit such as using the bush, water ways, and farmland in discharging their waste product, saying this has a negative effect on one’s health and his environment at large.
Calling on landlords to make adequate provision for toilets and water for their tenants as these are important for every households, the representative of the Director General, Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency pledged to draw her office attention to the plights of Etak Ikot community.
Speaking at the event, the Guest speaker, Abenmire Adie Williams elucidated the participants that the importance of personal hygiene and sanitation which mostly deals with constant hand washing after using the toilet cannot be overemphasized, as it helps in curtailing the spread of infectious diseases especially in the COVID-19 era.
She said that “it is necessary that today we begin to remind ourselves that toilets are key part of our household, we need to begin to prioritize having access to toilet facilities, in homes, schools and also, having water in those toilets is important as well. Having the toilet that is dirty and not accessible, then it is not a toilet.
“So on world toilet day, we just want to remind ourselves and remind members of selected communities that whatever you do, it is necessary that you prioritize these little things that you ordinarily want to shy away from or you ordinarily think they do not matter because in a long run there is a long chain of effect if you don’t prioritize this little thing.” She said.
Head Pastor of the Pentecostal Church Etak Ikot branch, Victor Eyo said the event was timely considering the fact that COVID-19 is yet to be defeated.
Eyo went on to disclose that, in the community Open Defecation (OD) is still practiced and poor toilet habit is prevalent. “Only with occasions like this can the people really see and appreciate their environment if clean and healthy,” he maintained.
Since 2001, November 19 every year had been mark as world toilet day by the United Nation owing to the significant role it play in excretion process and wellbeing of human.
Some pitures from the event below.
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