United Nation Children Fund, UNICEF, on Friday donated water treatment chemicals worth N54 million to Borno State Government as part of its efforts to support urban water chlorination in Maiduguri.
Gillian Walke, the UNICEF’s Nigeria Emergency Manager, said that the donation was part of the critical measures put in place in the raining season for the prevention of water borne diseases like cholera.
“In 2018, Borno had 6,367 cases of cholera that resulted in 73 deaths. The main hotspots were Jere, MMC, Ngala, Magumeri, Konduga and Kwaya Kusar.
“One death is one too many, other than providing water treatment chemicals, we are also supporting hygiene promotion at household level.
“The key to stopping cholera is in complimenting access to safe water with practicing good hygiene habits.
“Clean water, basic toilets and good hygiene practices are essential for the survival and development of children. Without these basic needs, the lives of millions of children are at risk.
“For children under five, water- and sanitation-related diseases are one of the leading causes of death.
“With support from DFID and others, UNICEF promotes hygiene, provides chemicals to the State Ministries of Water Resources for blanket water treatment in the urban water systems.
“It contributes to daily operation and management of water supplies in IDP camps and de-sludge’s latrines in IDP camps and host communities periodically,” she said.
Alhaji Mustapha Aminami, the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Water Resources, said the chemicals would go a long way in ensuring that people in Maiduguri drank safe water.
“The timing couldn’t have been better. With the rains coming, the risk of disease intensifies. I assure you that these chemicals will save many lives,’’ Aminami said.
NAN report that the Maiduguri water treatment plant started operation in 1993 and has a storage capacity of 64 million litres of water.
NAN reports that cholera is endemic in Borno and there has been resurgence in the last few years.
UNICEF and partners are working on supporting social mobilisation for behavioural change by targeting the stoppage of open defecation.
The agencies are also targeting safe water management from source to point of use, hand washing with soap and sustained chlorination of all sources of drinking water.