Alhaji Sani Yaro, the Programme Manager, Zamfara Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA), says no fewer than 35 hand pump boreholes have been constructed in cholera affected communities in the state.

Yaro on the sidelines of a WASH in Emergency Working Group Monitoring and Assessment visit on cholera to the state on Thursday.

He said that with support from development partners, latrines had been constructed in schools and health facilities for communities to stop open defecation practice and encourage Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) interventions.

According to him, open defecation is a major factor predisposing communities to preventable diseases and deaths, saying this became necessary to forestall further spread of cholera and other preventable diseases.

“We also have WASH Emergency interventions with the support of donors; UNICEF and DFID, in 2018, precisely in December, we were given approval to construct 35 new hand-pump boreholes in cholera affected communities, and at the same time, 80 broken down hand pump boreholes were rehabilitated through this support, as well as five solar-motorised boreholes.

“We are establishing and training WASH committees in all these cholera affected communities, and we are implementing this project in six LGAs in the state, they are the Sanitation, Hygiene and Water in Nigeria (SHAWN) selected LGAs, namely; Birnin-Magaji, Talata Mafara, Bakura, Tsafe, Shinkafi and Maru, like last year, we have intervened in 100 schools, we provided boreholes and sanitation facilities as well as 50 health facilities.’’

He noted that the agency was partnering with UNICEF and the Department for International Development to see that Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Intervention was evident in the state.

He said that the agency had set up an Emergency Operations Centre in partnership with the State Emergency Management Agency to provide information and response to humanitarian needs of Internally Displaced Persons.

“We are partnering with the state Emergency Management Agency, anytime there are IDPs in the state, they quickly intimate us, we carry out hygiene promotion, we also do latrines, there are some smart toilets introduced through sanitation marketing, which are very easy to construct, in a day, you can construct up to 10 toilets.

“My state is ready to pay its counterpart funding, but we want the Federal Government to consider the state, following the state having the highest cholera cases, it will be good for donors coming through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to consider the state in its selection, so that we will further collaborate effectively and eradicate those diseases.’’

He listed challenges of poor funds, inadequate resources to construct toilets, saying the state has trained WASH committees in the cholera affected communities, to pass the message of Nhygiene forward.

He said that rehabilitation of 80 hand pump boreholes and five boreholes had been done to help in scaling up interventions to meet the sanitation and hygiene needs of the communities.

The programme manager said that the agency had also carried out social mobilisation and awareness by triggering 105 communities on community led total sanitation for people to end open defecation practice.

The WASH in Emergency Working Group was established in 2012 when the country experienced serious devastating flood that affected 85milion people from 14 states.

The group has since remained active, especially in the North-East where IDPs exist and have responded immediately to outbreaks.

The group membership cuts across WASH sector players from Institutions, Development Partners, International and Local NGOs, CSOs responding to WASH issues in the North East, with UNICEF as its co-lead.