Tracking and Accountability in Federal Government’s COVID19 WASH Interventions in Nigeria
Introduction and Rationale
The coronavirus pandemic is crippling global economies and sending shivers down the spines of all and sundry, irrespective of economic class, tribe, religion, race and region. As a WASH-centric pandemic, its solutions or panacea revolve around WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). Just like most infectious diseases, hand hygiene, and more specifically, handwashing, is one of the recommended practices to prevent the spread of the virus. Hence, it is imperative that all COVID-19 interventions, either in the form of relief packages or healthcare restructuring, should have WASH components.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nigeria has continued to increase since the first case on 28th February 2020. As at 19 May 2020, there was a total of 6,401 confirmed cases. More worrisome is the high likelihood of community transmission and a second wave.
There is no gainsaying that one of the sustainable ways to boost the confidence of residents in Nigeria is through proper sensitization at grassroots level and provision of adequate WASH facilities at strategic public places within the states of the federation.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has taken some important steps to curb the spread of the virus, most especially, through support for improved WASH access to all the states in Nigeria. A National WASH Response Committee, comprising the Commissioner of Water Resources in all the states of the federation, was formed to drive the WASH COVID-19 Response.
At the 2nd Virtual Meeting of the National WASH Response Committee for COVID-19 held on Tuesday, 5th May 2020, the Minister highlighted some salient points on the way forward and strategies to support the states.
In his speech he reiterated the urgency of provision of adequate water supply for regular handwashing, considering the emergence of community transmission of COVID-19 across the country.
The Minister also confirmed that the committee is at the stage of getting the final nod from the Ministry of Finance, on the proposal submitted on WASH response to COVID-19 in support of State Government’s efforts. The deliverables as contained in the proposal include:
- 5 Nos. water points will be rehabilitated in each State & FCT, preferably in public places of densely populated sections of urban areas; States are hereby requested to submit the locations and description of the schemes to the secretariat.
- 5 Nos. solar powered borehole schemes will be constructed in each State & FCT, also preferably in public places (Motor Parks, Markets, Health Centres or Schools); States to submit proposed locations to the secretariat.
- 10 Nos. sanitation facilities will be constructed in public places of densely populated areas of each State and FCT; States to submit proposed locations to the secretariat.
- 10 N0s. mobile/fixed (contactless) hand washing facilities will be supplied to each State and the FCT with hand washing soap and sanitizers to be deployed to public places.
- 100 Youth Volunteers will be engaged from each of the 774 LGAs of the Federation for hand washing and ODF Campaign and other WASH activities for a period of 3 months. The States will be to coordinate the selection of these volunteers for each LGA in liaison with the secretariat for modalities and procedures for the exercise.
- State Urban Water Supply Agencies should submit urgent needs in the areas of chemicals, equipment, repairs and other logistic supports within NGN 10million bracket to the secretariat.
Track, Publicize and account for Federal Government WASH interventions incorporated in COVID-19 response across all the states in Nigeria
- Updated database of WASH interventions incorporated in COVID-19 response
- Accessible data to guide policy decisions for improved access to WASH facilities for residents
- Increased WASH infrastructural development in the state
- Status and number of handwashing facilities deployed in public spaces within the states as part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 response;
- Status and number of water supply systems constructed or installed during the pandemic by the Federal Government across the states of the federation;
- Status and number of water supply systems rehabilitated during the pandemic by the Federal Government across the states of the federation.
The scope of this accountability and project tracking is to embark on following activities:
- Obtain the list of proposed sites for Federal Governments COVID19 WASH Interventions in each state of the federation;
- Obtain the list of assigned Project Coordinator (from Federal Ministry of water Resources) and Contractors executing the projects in each state;
- Embark on physical visits to the sites to ascertain the level of implementation of the proposed projects.
Details of each commitment made by the Minister of Water Resources can be found in the link; https://bit.ly/HonAdamu-Nigeria?fbclid=IwAR2yhydZOEeu7ZRYZwMMHpRVN4xKj2a-BbWzUTZzwJfhlz9afZaQ1IaWmpE
Key Message from the Minister
We are sending a key message to the country, we are using this pandemic to make the country, the finance minister and everyone should be aware of the connection between this pandemic and lack of proper hygiene. So going forward we are going to leverage on that to ensure that our government commit more resources, much more than it’s been doing now to ensure WASH is given the priority that it deserves.