Bauchi state task group for sanitation (STGS) has identified the absence of WASHCOMS as a factor responsible for poor hygiene practices in most communities aspiring to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.
Hajiya Halima Mohammed, Chairperson of the STGS, said this while briefing stakeholders on the recent certification exercise conducted in 321 communities of Bauchi and Katagum local government areas of Bauchi State.
She said most communities visited have no established and trained WASHCOMS, instead, they relied on weak and ineffective sanitation committees, noting that this state of affairs might not be unconnected with the absence of latrines and handwashing facilities in schools, places of worship and even within households.
“During our (STG)Inspection, we observed weak evidence of follow-ups by the WASH units of both Bauchi and Katagum Local councils, as well as improper documentation and record keeping. Community inspection should be a routine exercise if Local councils truly wish to attain ODF status by 2030” the Chairperson said.
Hajia Halima said though some communities were inaccessible due to flooding which resulted in several toilet collapse, it was incumbent on local councils to ensure proper WASH funding to enable the concerned communities to perform optimally, particularly when the rain subsides as this would help to check the spread of Diseases within Communities.
“The STGS, therefore, wishes to advise RUWASA and the Local councils to engage community leaders, Village health practitioners and Community lead total sanitation monitoring groups to compliment the effort of LG WASH UNITS in sensitizing the citizenry,” She added.
The Manager of the Bauchi state Rural water supply Agency, RUWASA, Engineer Ibrahim Yusuf Commended the STGS for its suggestions, assuring that the Agency’s team of Experts would put machinery in motion to address challenges identified with a view to registering more local governments that would attain open defecation free status before the year 2022 runs out.
The STGS stakeholders meeting was attended by UNICEF WASH officer, Mr David Demien, representatives of MDAS including RUWASA BASEPA, PHCDA, ministries of local government, water resources, budget and planning, and WASH MEDIA