By Gabriel Olawale
Access to clean water forms an integral part of women and children’s fight against infections, especially water borne diseases.
According to United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, over 44 million pregnant women contact chronic infections due to lack of clean water during pregnancy. Infections from contaminated water have also been shown to have severe impact on young children under five. When clean water is insufficient in a household, it places a higher risk on pregnant women and young children as they are most affected by water and sanitation related diseases.
Access to clean water not only prevents the transmission of water-related infections among women and children, it also removes the danger involved in them having to go long distance in search of clean water.
In its bid to assist in addressing this challenge, HACEY Health Initiative with support from Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation through the Clean Water Initiative is improving access to potable water in rural and underserved communities.
Speaking during a capacity building for 350 stakeholders from 17 communities, HACEY Health Initiative Director, Gender Development Programs, Rhoda Robinson said that the initiative aimed at increasing access to safe drinking water, providing sustainable solutions that will reduce water- borne diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever, and building the capacity of community women and children on safe water practices.
“The training is to empower them on keeping water clean and improve safe water practices among community members. Community leaders were sensitized on the benefits of the ensuring clean water is always available and tasked to work together to adapt the project to adequately meet the water needs of the community as well as to influence community members to protect water sources.
These trainings have been provided free of charge to communities since 2017 and till date 32 communities have been reached and over 600 community leaders have been trained.
Chief Akande from Araromi Badagry while speaking about the initiative said that; “this is very timely and important for this community. One of our major vices in this area is open defecation which leads high prevalence of diarrhoea especially among infants”.
It is imperative that both the public and private sector increase investments in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for women and children especially those in rural and underserved communities as this improves productivity, health and general well-being.