Mr Daniel Ugwu and Mr Chinedu Anioke spoke on the state of water, sanitation and hygiene in Enugu state hospital, The radio program was an interactive section between the two guests and the host. They spoke on their experiences of their visitation to health centres and gave their recommendation.
When we talk about hygiene and sanitation, what should be the first thing to come to the mind of anyone?
Dr Ugwu: Water comes to mind when talking about hygiene and sanitation because people can not do without it people can cope without electricity but not water.
Do you think it is the sole responsibility of the state government to provide WASH services to the people?
Mr Chinedu: Both the citizens and the government have a role to play. Infrastructure must be provided by the government while the citizens are duty-bound to take care of these infrastructures.
Do you think the government has done enough to ensure WASH services are readily available to people of the state?
Mr Ugwu: The government has actually not done enough. In this part of the world, the provision of water is seen as a luxury which isn’t. International bodies have intervened by providing funds for the government to provide water to the citizens which we do not see the impact of these funds’’ Water should be seen as an essential amenity that people need to survive, however, it is often not taken seriously because most of them are very comfortable in their homes and offices.
Do you think the government saw the provision of water as a matter of urgency with the outbreak of the coronavirus?
Mr Chinedu: Many middle and low income earning areas where people are at risk of contracting the virus haven’t gotten any intervention by the government. Only a few places have occasional pipe-borne running water. places like Achalla layout, Coal camp, Abakaliki road etc, have no running water
There have been achievements made by the Governor in ensuring that there’s an improvement in the health sector, has there been an improvement in water supply in these hospitals?
Dr Ugwu: There should be a new orientation on the provision of water which should be a primary necessity because physical structures are put in place but not the same as water
Mr Chinedu: Government should consider water as an essential element when putting up these structures. It should not be limited to Enugu metropolis alone, hospitals in rural areas make use of rainwater or they buy from water tankers. If structures are built without water, sanitation will suffer. The building of structures is not tantamount to water supply
Are you aware of the ongoing AFD project and its achievements?
Mr Daniel: Achievements on a project can only be determined by end-users. There might be achievements on paper but not physically.
Justice: What should be done to remedy this?
Mr Chinedu: The state ministry of health should send people to rural areas to know their state of water supply. The government should do more, health workers shouldn’t be providing water for themselves
You visited these hospitals, what is happening in most of these facilities that you’ve been able to visit?
Mr Chinedu: The cottage hospital in Ugwo Oba is in total ruins, the place is dilapidated with grasses growing in the building complex. There’s no water or toilet, they practice open defecation. The hospital was in a total mess when I visited. Nothing has been done yet the government should pay more attention to them.
Do you think this information has been referred to parties that should be able to take action?
Mr Daniel: Most governments don’t know exactly what is going on; they get good reports from the monitoring team who might not have visited these places. One of the challenges faced when relating to the situation is that the government feels antagonised. A new orientation is needed from the leaders, and the workers not necessarily the money.
Mr Chinedu: We spoke to them about our findings but like Mr Daniel said some of them take it as antagonism or opposition. But we continue to engage them with evidence.
It’s on the news that the governor is doing a lot to ensure that these services are made available to the people, are they actually doing what is expected to make these things work?
Mr Chinedu: The governor might have released money or given the instructions to tackle the unavailability of water but it hasn’t gotten to the people. It is not just us it means the person responsible is not doing their job.
What is the way forward?
Mr Daniel: The Governor should engage the necessary bodies to make water a priority. It’s a leadership issue, hence it should be delegated
Mr Chinedu: The government has to take it very seriously and act on it. We also call on well-meaning individuals to assist in providing these services, the community can also organize themselves while we wait for the government. It’s an all-round issue but water must be provided.
Amaka from Udi: In the health centre in my hometown, Obinagu, we only have one auxiliary nurse who is almost never around. They also have to be oriented on how to treat patients.
Ben from Igbo-etiti: The government is not serious in providing WASH facilities in primary health care facilities. Most of them lack doctors, they just have one or two nurses. The government has not prioritized these health centres and that shouldn’t be. The government has to do more.
Kingsley from Nsukka: I’m one of the #ClaimYourWaterRights team in Nsukka. Water is the most essential need of a human being. You don’t talk about the provision of these facilities without sustainability. In our health centres, most of them use rainwater but we cannot say they have access to water. There should be access to sustainable clean water. In Iheka health centre, they do not even have containers or tanks to collect the rainwater; not to talk of a borehole, they buy water from a nearby market. The government should find a way to sort this out.