By Gabriel Olawale
TEACHERS and pupils of eight public primary schools in Shomolu Local Government Area, and Bariga Local Council Development Area of Lagos State could not hold back their joy recently,as as their dream of access to safe water and basic sanitation in the learning environment came true.
The feat which was made possible by Stop Diarrhoea Initiative, SDI organised by Save the Children with support from Reckitt Benckiser and Lagos State government aimed at addressing high prevalence of diarrhoea which accounts for over 16 per cent of child deaths in Nigeria and an estimated 150,000 deaths mainly amongst children under five annually.
Handing over the newly constructed and rehabilitated toilet facilities, the Area Operations Manager, Save the Children, Mr. Roy Chikwem noted the committment to promoting hygiene and access to quality education but also supporting local and international interventions to establish equitable, sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation services in schools.
He explained that poor sanitation, water scarcity and inappropriate hygiene behaviour are disastrous for infants and remain a major cause of mortality for children under five.
“In April 2016, an assessment of 20 Public Primary Schools in Shomolu LGA and Bariga LCDA was carried out and the outcome of the assessment led to the rehabilitation and construction of water and sanitation facilities in eight public primary schools which are National Primary school, Gbagada-East Primary school, Oduduwa Primary school, CMS primary school, Arch Deacon Adelaja memorial Primary school, Wesley Primary School, St. Paul UNA primary School and St. Augustine Primary School to improve the sanitary and health condition of the pupils.”
On her part, the Marketing Manager West Africa, Reckitt Benckiser Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola expressed their company’s gesture to be identified with a project that tends to save lives and promote pupils learning performance.
“As a company that promote hygiene and environmental sanitation across the country, we are glad to be identified with this project as one of the many that we are supporting across the country.
We are urging the leadership of Shomolu LGA, Bariga LCDA, SUBEB and the Lagos State Government by extension to replicate this initiative in all the schools and communities.”
Appreciating the gesture, Executive Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board Executive Chairman, Dr. Ganiyu Sopeyin pledged that they will ensure proper maintenance of the facilities.
Sopeyin who was represented by the Director, Co-Curricular, Mrs. Bunmi Oteju said they will ensure proper management of the septic to avoid seepage which can lead to serious diarrhoea within the school and community at large.