July 22, 2024

Epidemic, water-borne diseases threaten over 7.2m A’Ibom people – CSOs

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A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in conjunction with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is worried by the challenges of epidemic and water-borne diseases threatening the 7.2 million in Akwa Ibom State.

Consequently, the coalition has sought increased budgetary allocation to the water sector in the state, noting that such intervention would go a long way in addressing humanitarian challenges plaguing the population.

This was the major outcome of a two-day workshop which ended at the weekend in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital under the theme: Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE), aimed at impressing the government to improve water sector funding.

Participants, who expressed worry over the prevalence of poor sanitary conditions in the environments, blamed the problems of inadequate water engineering in the state and supply across the 31 local government areas for agricultural and household needs.

Addressing participants drawn from the state government, CSOs and other Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the Project Director and Chief Executive Officer, Africa Human Development Centre (AHDC), Prof. Gabriel Umoh, lamented the government’s non-commitment to funding the water sector.

He noted that such negligence has impinged negatively on the living conditions of the people.

Umoh, a Professor of Agricultural and Development Economics at the University of Uyo, therefore, charged the state government to show more than a passing interest in funding the sector by demonstrating strong political will to increase allocation with effective monitoring mechanisms to ensure efficient management of such funds.

Welcoming participants, Umoh explained that “this workshop aimed at enhancing the performance of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector in Akwa Ibom state through advocacy for the approval of gender equity and socially inclusive WASH policy.”

“Therefore, we are advocating for increased WASH budgetary allocations and timely releases, the institutionalisation of WASH monitoring and evaluation framework as well as the adoption of the open defecation-free roadmap in the state for sustainable service delivery,” he added.

He recalled that the workshop had in the past three to five years conducted participatory reviews of the government budget with a view to identifying the gaps in budgetary allocations to WASH, as compared to other sectors, regretting, however, that “funding to the sector has been ridiculously low.”

Similarly, Edidiong Sambo of the Society for Water and Sanitation in Nigeria (NEWSAN); Acting General Manager of Akwa Ibom Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (AKRUWATSAN), Saviour Udo and the Managing Director of Akwa Ibom Water Company, Akaninyene Isok, underscored the need to effectively fund the sector towards a healthy living condition of the population.

Courtesy: StraightNews

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