Abagana (Njikoka LGA)-United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Anambra State Government have re-emphasised the need for families to take good care of themselves to avoid contracting diseases that may lead to incalculable losses.
This may be in terms of loss of funds and family members.
Mrs Chineze George-Ileka, UNICEF Desk Officer domiciled in the Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment said that unhealthy practices constitute grave health challenges to the country.
She made the observation during a workshop organised for Anambra Central President’s-Generals (PGs), Women and Youth Leaders at Abagana, Njikoka Local Government Area (LGA) on Nov. 6.
Mrs George-Ileka noted that each community had health facilities and expressed dismay that such facilities recorded low patronage.
The Desk Officer decried attitude of mothers that patronise Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) and quacks, saying that there were lots of dangers associated with such practices.
She emphasised the need for going to health centres, especially by pregnant and nursing mothers, immunising their children as and when due.
Mrs George-Ileka, then, advocated for exclusive breastfeeding so that they could reap gains therein.
Speaking on general body cleanliness, she enjoined the participants to wash their clothes especially under wears to avoid contracting infections.
Wash your body properly to avoid coming down with body odours as a result of dirtiness.”
The UNICEF desk officer, while calling on participants to be ambassadors of clean environment, urged them to always do a recap of what they were taught during their monthly meetings.
This, Mrs George-Ileka, said would serve as a way of educating their community members.
State Hygiene Promotion Officer, Dr Rose Amasiani spoke against the menace of open defecation (OD) saying that it was one of the challenges facing the country currently.
She said that Nigeria had declared a state of emergency to achieve environmental cleanliness.
Dr Amasiani urged the participants to launch a crusade against OD by erecting signposts at strategic positions, warning against OD to curb the unhealthy habit.
She enjoined them to adopt hygienic behaviours to reduce mortality and morbidity rates.
A participant, Mr Sunday Ezeokeke, Youth Leader, Ichida Community noted that OD could not be eliminated, where public conveniences were absent to serve the populace.
He urged state government to erect toilet facilities at designated places like markets, motor parks and schools across the state, so as to improve human hygiene and discourage OD.
Another participant, Mr Innocent Nwaka from Uke, Idemili North LGA said that the community was experiencing peculiar problems of open defecation.
He noted that there was an Adoration Ground in their area and that every Friday night, the surroundings of the arena were usually messed up with faeces, calling for assistance to curb the menace.
Reacting, the UNICEF desk officer urged the community to liaise with Idemili North Transition Committee Chairman for a way forward, saying that donor agencies would not do everything.
Mr Linus Ezeonugo, Vice-President General, Adazi Ani Community asked how UNICEF would help their town union in refuse disposal, saying that they had written to government but nothing had been done.
Reacting, Mrs George-Ileka enjoined them to liaise with the authorities concerned, asking them to carry out a survey in their community in order to map out designated place in the interim for refuse disposal.
The workshop reached the following resolutions:
That the community leaders would direct every household to have good toilet facilities and that Government, Communities, Churches and Schools should to provide toilets at strategic locations.
It was also agreed that Town Unions should ensure that existing facilities would be functional.
Others are that communities should set aside a day for sanitation exercise, where defaulters would be fined; appoint health sanitation committee with nominated chairman, resident in the community.
It was also resolved that community heads should liaise with vigilance groups to extend services to these facilities in order to ensure compliance.
The rest of the resolutions are periodic checks of households to ensure that their toilets would be well maintained.
There is need for continuous orientation and sensitisation on personal/general cleanliness through community meetings/town criers and LGAs to provide dumping ground for waste disposal.”
It was also resolved that exclusive breastfeeding be discussed during community meetings and incentives offered to compliant ones to encourage and affirm their importance.
Mr John Uzoezie, PG Neni community, then, thanked the organisers for the brainstorming workshop, calling on community leaders to reciprocate government gesture to achieve the desired objectives.
Source: Anambra State Government