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November

Editor In Chief Elsie Ijorogu Reed Managing Editor Coordinator Kirthi Jayakumar Contributors Obiomachi Madukoma Susanne K Kemi Adeyele David Akin-Williams Designer Kirthi Jayakumar Health, safety and hygiene and the Environment
By: Susanne K For the average urban Australian (like myself) it is inconceivable that a lack of safe water and sanitation remains one of the worlds most urgent health issues. Indeed, it has been predicted that Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region likely to miss Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets on both safe water and basic sanitation.

Many Africans are 30 minutes or more walk from decent water and/or a basic toilet and these deprivations are too often experienced more by women and children. Kofi Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General, captured the powerful health impacts of water well when he said, We shall not finally defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation and basic health care. And the impacts of poor hygiene and sanitation do not stop with health. Access to safe and dignified toilet facilities are said to strongly influence girl's and women's decisions about whether or not to continue with their education; and the time it can take for a woman to reach and return home with water for her family is time not spent learning or earning. The benefits of grass roots education and the provision of decent sanitation and water to women and children are therefore boundless. Karil Kochenderfer, Principal at LINKAGES, argues that solutions must be more than short-term reactive, crisis responses and the changing of health behaviors at community level is at least as important as strategic vision, manpower, focus, expertise and organizational management.

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it is the commitment and leadership of the government accompanied by the collective follow-through of all parties to achieve. It takes a village not a corporation, nor individual citizens nor community groups alone. It is shared values rooted and shared within communities. The challenge is to apply the resources of these collective constituencies and those brought in from outside in a thoughtful and sustained manner. WHO has recognised the importance of multi-sectoral involvement for advancing health and related outcomes with its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Project. And the One Million Initiative, a collaboration between The Netherlands and UNICEF, aims to provide better quality water in Mozambique (and other nations) by drilling thousands of new boreholes fitted with hand pumps. This program builds upon the aspirational MDGs, which initially prioritized water supply independently of water quality, and champions social mobilization for safe sanitation and hygiene behaviour change through the Community Approach to Total Sanitation (CATS). Community participation and education as well as sustainability and decentralized capacity development are valued as highly as infrastructure and high level principals and collaboration.

Environmental Sanitation In Nigeria


Kemi Adeyele The link between sanitation and health ca nnot be overemphasized; according to P rincewill, "There cannot be a healthy natio n without healthy environment" (2011). Majority of the diseases that cause the hig h mortality rate in our country; especially among women and children are direct cau ses of poor environmental sanitation. It is also important to note that the ignorance of the people to simple sanitary practice h as also contributed greatly to the poor env ironmental sanitation in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria is well aware that good sanitation improves the h ealth of the populace and have since been working on different policies that has either worked or failed. During the pre-independence era (1900 1960), several legislative controls were put in place to address the problem of Environ mental Sanitation. Among these were: i) Cantonment Proclamation of 1904 on the Layout and Sanitation of GRA; ii) Public Health Act of 1909 on Environmental Sanitation; iii) Township Ordinance No. 29 of 1917 on Sanitation and Environmental Management;

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Environmental sanitation started becomin g a big issue in 1983 owing to the rapid gro wth of population. And then in 1985 envir onmental sanitation was chosen to be the fifth phase of the policy War against Indis cipline(WAI). This was launched in Kano o n 29th of July 1985 by the then Chief of Staf f; Major General Idiagbon. This policy re-in troduced house to house inspection. He w ent ahead to announce a one million naira award for the cleanest state. Works in all the state capitals were intensif ied and every dung hill was cleared, gutter s were cleaned up and even though this di dnt yield much due to the review of polici es as a new government took over. But it marked the beginning of the once a month environmental sanitation observed by most state of the federation till today. At this point, much concern is drawn to how effective this exercise has been. Science has so far helped with finding medical solutions to most of the communicable diseases caused by poor sanitation but without addressing the root cause these scientific solutions will not provide a lasting solution.

Healthcare Availability and Accessibility in Nigeria

Obiomachi Madukoma Nigeria has over 34,000 healthcare facilities all over the country. About onethird of these facilities are privately owned, while the rest are owned and operated by the government. As of 2011, there were 30098 registered primary healthcare facilities in the country, almost 4000 secondary facilities and 83 tertiary facilities. Primary healthcare centres are largely considered the first port of entry in the healthcare system, however, we find many people utilizing secondary healthcare facilities for services that are well within the scope of practice of primary healthcare workers, and should be easily obtained in a primary health clinic at very little cost. At times, the wide assumption is that primary health centres are for the rural people in the village, and other times, the problem is that even those services that should be provided by health centres are unavailable, staff to patient ratio is grossly inadequate to meet the needs in the community, and even services that can be accessed quite inexpensively end up costing the members of the community more than they can afford at the given time; even when these services have been promised free of charge by the government.
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An article in the Vanguard Newspaper (Aug 3, 2013), lauded Delta State for being one of the most health conscious states in the Federation. According to this article, Delta State was the first to introduce the and successfully implement the free maternal health care and free rural scheme. The free rural scheme was to ensure that health care delivery (men, materials and accessories) are moved from one rural area to another. Needless to say, this is a very progressive exercise that has benefitted many across the state. However, a sad reality has emerged in recent years, one that threatens great efforts made by the government. Another article in The Africa Report tells the story of a man who rushed his wife to the hospital as she was in labour. Upon arrival, she needed a caesarian section, and since the free maternal healthcare scheme was already in place, Mr Okomika felt all was well. Sadly, due to his inability to raise the money for blood transfusion, and upon the insistence of the nurse who told him to go ask the governor to donate the blood for his wife since he was insisting the service should have been free, his wife died, in the presence of the free scheme. There have also been reports of healthcare workers telling patients that drugs were not available, even after drugs have been made available by the government through revolving drug schemes.

Patients are instead directed to private clinics supplied by the same healthcare workers in the government clinics. Healthcare in Nigeria is fraught with numerous issues. Some issues are a result of an entrenched apathy due to years of neglect and mismanagement. Some issues are a result of misinformation or lack of information on the part of members of the community. To repair the system and sustain a healthy healthcare environment, health must be seen as a factor of many other spheres of life including security, finance, education, etc. The is also the need for governmentcommunity partnerships in implementing healthcare schemes, as the members of the community can feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the projects in their community.

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Women, Health, Safety And Hygiene


By David Akin-Williams Safety is necessary in all aspects of the living; prevention, protection, maintenance, cleanliness, caution, advice, consultation, rules, principles and guidelines etc. All these are overall concepts of safety wherever we may find ourselves. By adopting healthy practices, we are more likely to survive and become more productive individuals, and also are more able to teach others to do same. Health is wealth! If you have a sound health, you can go a long way in achieving your aspirations, hopes, and desires. We need a strong healthy nation and we need our communities sensitized to health issues. We have numerous diseases and ailments like Cholera, Pneumonia, Malaria, Ulcers, Typhoid, Tuberculosis, Polio, Cancer, HIV/Aids etc. Most of which can be prevented. More emphasis needs to be laid on individual and community education, instead of overemphasizing the role of government with little attention paid to individual/ community accountability and responsibility. Personal hygiene is very important to cleanliness and sanitation. The solution to many problems in our communities today lies in the hand of most community leaders and elders. Imagine a long street without any drainage system in place. Many communities with sanitary deficiencies suffer from nefarious diseases and these diseases are not particularly endemic to only few communities in the country. The common denominator in the prevalence of these diseases is the absence of good sanitation and a well-organized public health system.

Though, Government is making efforts overtime to prevent effects of diseases and promote good health, safety and hygiene, these efforts have not achieved a lot of the desired outcomes. To increase positive outcomes of such efforts, the government needs to partner not only with aid organizations, but more so with community leaders and members because such collaborations can foster more accountability and community members feel ownership of these efforts. In many cases, women and/ or mothers take up the primary responsibility of training children in good health, safety and hygiene practices. In many communities, fathers are not often, if at all, involved in this aspect of a childs upbringing. Mothers will wake up in the morning, bathe us, brush us and kit us for school. After school, we return home to mothers who continue from where they stopped in the morning. Fathers are usually working outside the home to bring home the proverbial bacon, and as such leave it to the women. Even in homes where both parents work outside the home, the woman is still traditionally considered the primary caretaker for the children, regardless of her responsibilities outside the home. Today, women empowerment has brought about improvement in the lives of our mothers. In addition to helping women see themselves as equal members of the society whose opinions and input have as much value as mens, they are empowered to be more proactive and better equipped to support their families.

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OKUIJOROGU SCHOOL The school at Okuijorogu that Delta Women has helped to open is on its way to being completed. The construction process has begun officially!

DELTA WOMEN, HONOURED Delta Women's volunteers were honoured this year by the UN Online Volunteering System with an award for being the Volunteers of the year. With this, Delta Women has won the award three years in a row! Some photos from the event of Isaac Owusu receiving the award are here for your viewing pleasure!

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THE DELTA WOMEN RADIO SHOW Delta Women is pleased to announce that it is in the process of conceptualising a radio program. To be aired every Monday at 11.45 AM, beginning January, these programs are for the purpose of empowerment and enlightenment. We are calling on the public to offer suggestions of topics and subjects to focus each episode, so as to benefit our target audience of mid-level to rural women and youth. WELCOME, NEW VOLUNTEERS! Delta Women welcomes 10 new volunteers, who join our team this month to work on our various projects.

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