Hygiene: Stakeholders Chart Path Forward in Schools, Communities, Health Centres in Kwara.

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By correspondent in Ilorin.

Stakeholders from the education, environment, and health sectors have outlined strategies to enhance hygiene practices in schools, communities, and health centres in Kwara State.

During a stakeholders meeting held on Friday in Ilorin, organized by the Well Being Foundation Africa (WBFA) in collaboration with Reckitt-Dettol, the focus was on evaluating the foundation’s Hygiene Quest activities in the first quarter of 2024.

WBFA Programs Director, Dr. Francis Ogbise, represented by WBFA Programme Lead, Mr. Kehinde Akinsola, highlighted that the meeting served as a scorecard for the initial phase of their Hygiene Quest programme, which aims to improve health outcomes for women, children, and infants.

“Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) are not only prerequisites for generational health but also catalysts for resilient, peaceful, and prosperous communities,” Dr. Ogbise stated.

Mr. Akinsola provided an overview of the Hygiene Quest Programme’s second phase, which will run from 2024 to 2026, targeting 300 schools. In the first quarter, the foundation conducted awareness campaigns in 20 schools, 24 communities, and 12 health facilities.

Following these enlightenment sessions, selected students and teachers will be trained to establish Hygiene Clubs in their schools to ensure the programme’s continuity.

Mr. Musa Nurudeen, Territory Sales Manager for Reckitt-Dettol in Kwara, emphasized the partnership with WBFA, aligning with their vision to educate women and children on hygiene and germ protection. “Well-being and wellness are not privileges but rights,” Mr. Nurudeen affirmed.

Commending the initiative, Mr. Muhammad Nasir from the Ministry of Water Resources, urged the foundation to extend its outreach to out-of-school children and pregnant women who do not attend antenatal care.

Mrs. Motunrayo Yahaya, Director of Nursing Services at Okelele Primary Health Care Centre, noted that since the programme’s first phase in 2022, there has been a reduction in cases of diarrhoea and vomiting, contributing to decreased maternal mortality. She advocated for the installation of handwashing stations in schools and the construction of public toilets across the state.

Mr. Taiye Odedeji, Deputy Director at the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, praised the foundation’s alignment with SDG 3 and 4, focusing on good health and quality education. He suggested that teachers be included in the programme to lead by example for their students.

Dr. Temitope Ajibola, Chairman of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPSS), represented by Mr. Julius Balogun, recommended that WBFA collaborate with other NGOs to expand their impact.

The Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, represented by Mogaji Odota, Alhaji Muhammed Okanlawon, emphasized the importance of involving more community members in the programmes to ensure sustainability. He noted that those already trained are effectively disseminating the knowledge.

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