Nigeria, WHO tracks progress on water, sanitation SDGs

Nigerian Government through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources is partnering with the World Health Organisation and other stakeholders to track progress made to improve access to water and sanitation services in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) Report Validation meeting in Abuja, Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation with the Ministry, Mr Emmanuel Awe, said the event was an avenue for stakeholders’ consultation and representation for effective governance in scaling up water and sanitation services.

According to him, the GLAAS is a UN-Water Initiative implemented by the WHO, responds to information needs to address gaps on the use of sanitation and drinking water services.

“ GLAAS is in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector on governance, monitoring, finance, and human resources, it will help us to know where we are as a country.

“An example is in the human resources; do we have enough human resources? do we even plan for human resources in the WASH Sector? we will be able to know by the time we fill the survey from’’.

Awe, represented by Mrs Elizabeth Ugoh, Deputy Director with the ministry, said already in 2022, some gaps have been noticed in human resources required for the WASH sector to deliver services effectively.

The director said planning had already begun to see how to close these gaps towards meeting the needed parameters for meeting the water and sanitation SDGs.

He said data gathered had seen gaps in urban sanitation services, saying having the right policy in place would go a long way in reversing these trend.

“GLAAS is beneficial to help us see how we are progressing in the SDGs 6 on WASH as a country, we are able to see gaps.

“In the area of urban sanitation, we have seen that we need to do a lot of work to have policy right in place work with it effectively.

“The policy is there but still under-developed, this will also help us to know that we need to do more in those areas by putting things in place to achieve the SDGs six’’.

Awe expressed optimism that Nigeria would meet the SDG target on water and sanitation, following the President’s declaration of a state of emergency in the sector.

He added that with activities from the `Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign’, more local government areas were now recording open defecation-free status, calling for stakeholders’ efforts to sustain progress.

In Nigeria, WHO has facilitated the review of Nigeria Water Quality Standards, WASH Guidelines for Health Facilities, water quality related Operating Guidelines of the National Environmental Sanitation Policy, and trainings on IPC/WASH protocols against Covid-19. 

The WHO Nigeria Country Representative Dr Walter Mulombo, represented by National Consultant, Public Health & Environment, Dr Edwin Isotu-Edeh, said the importance of the UN-GLASS report as an important strategic document provides overall assessment of WASH systems in Nigeria.

According to him, this covers areas of governance, monitoring, human resources and finance.

He added that understanding bottlenecks and enablers of WASH system in COVID-19 era as revealed by the assessment, is key to accelerating the actualization of both SDG 6 and addressing determinants of health in Nigeria.

According to the WHO, water safety and quality are fundamental to human development and well-being, with providing access to safe water is one of the most effective instruments in promoting health and reducing poverty.

With the SDGs, GLAAS continue to provide information on investments and the enabling environment with a specific focus on monitoring Targets 6a and 6b.

It targets call to expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes.

It also calls for support and strengthening the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.

The latest GLAAS report, published in 2019, builds on the GLAAS 2017 report, where finance continues to be a major theme of the report.

It is hoped that at the end of the meeting, the validated report will put in place an existing framework for addressing identified gaps.

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