The United Nations Children Fund and European Union at the weekend said that Ekiti state leads other states of the federation in open defecation.
These disclosures were made during a 2-day media networking and alliance building workshop organized by the European Union/UNICEF on Water Sanitation and Hygiene and Open Defecation Free campaign held at Ijero Ekiti, Ijero Local Government area of Ekiti State.
In one of the leading papers presented, a Community Led Total Sanitation(CLTS) facilitator and a staff of Rural Water Sanitation Agency in Ekiti , Mrs Lanre Ayeni, said 748 million of the global population, lacked access to hygienic water supply .
The world body lamented that 1.8 million Ekiti residents out of a total population of 2.7 million are engaged in open defecation, thereby contributing about 60.8% to the aggregate of this menace nationally.
Ayeni said it was regrettable that 1.8 billion people still use contaminated sources of water, which she said has caused a lot of damage to their health and body systems.
“When you take a water that has been contaminated by shit (faeces), the person will have ten million viruses, one million bacteria and one hundred thousand parasite eggs in her body system.
“Advocacy for open defecation free in Ekiti and good water sanitation is yielding results. Enforcement in the past by CLTS coordinators had failed , what we now use is persuasion and people are gradually changing their perception about this concept.”
The UNICEF/EU delegation , led by Mohsena Islam, a WASH specialist from UNICEF, went on a field trip with Ekiti Media WASH group to Asasa and Temidire Olojofi farm settlements in Aramoko Ekiti, to assess compliance with the campaign against open defecation .
Mohsena, who disclosed that several achievements had been recorded through UNICEF/EU WASH programme in Ekiti, using Gbonyin and Ekiti West as pilot councils in advocacy for open defecation Free and WASH, said the two international organizations have been funding the programme and rendering technical supports.
“In Ekiti , an estimated number of 180,000 people are gaining access to good source of water through provision of hand pump boreholes. In the same way, 29,582 people in Ekiti have gained access to safe water through rehabilitation of 65 hand pumps in Gbonyin. 965 pupils from four schools now have access to child and gender friendly water supply.
“We have also brought improvement to 250 towns and communities in ODF by providing ten toilets per public. We have also provided technical supports in 313 communities, for them to know various ways to build and take ownership of low cost latrines and how to repair them in case of damage.”