Katsina State Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA) has said continued insecurity in seven frontline local government areas was a major delay in achieving a state-wide open defecation-free status.
The frontline local governments are; Batsari, Danmusa, Faskari, Funtua, Kankara, Sabua and Jibia.
Alhaji Aminu Dayyabu, Executive Director of the agency 26 out of 34 LGAs have been verified and Certified Open Defecation-Free (ODF).
According to him, the state achieved such feat following the highest political will from all stakeholders and interventions from development partners.
“The state government, with the support that we are getting and with the local government, we have been able to deliver four local governments as ODF, in addition to the 22 that were supported with a lot of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions in Katsina state.
“So you see, we are moving, if not because of the security challenges that we are facing, especially in the frontline LGAs, I tell you, we would have delivered Katsina state ODF by the end of this year, we are putting our fingers crossed, watching, as soon as the situation improved, we will be able to go and verify.
“And even in these seven frontline LGAs, it does not mean that something is not happening. We have the institution there, they are working day and night. I mean the water and sanitation department, because they are resident there, they are domiciled there, they know the terrain, but you know, you can’t certify, there are processes.
“ I tell you that we are working underground and it has really shown, because this year, the level of cholera outbreak that we use to have has reduced significantly, and this is due to the effect of the work that RUWASSA and the water and sanitation department are doing in Katsina State.’’
Dayyabu said the state was not in competition with Jigawa to attain state-wide ODF status, but to see how to improve access to potable water and sanitation for its populace.
He said provision of these facilities in an enabling environment, would stop open defecation practice, and would translate to increase in the health status, having a multiplier effect.
He noted that implementation of the Village Level Operation and Maintenance (VLOM) strategy had seen the involvement of the communities in maintenance of their water facilities.
He said communities that have taken ownership had avoided mishandling and abandonment that may have occurred.