Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, the launch of this Lifestraw is an indication of the commitment of the Partners and the present administration led by Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari (GCON), to address health priorities, reduce poverty and significantly improve the quality of life of Nigerians which will ultimately contribute to the achievement of the universal health coverage in Nigeria. We will like to use this opportunity to reaffirm government support and willingness to partner with EnvironFocus Limited towards a roll out of this initiative in all States of the Federation. ~ Hon Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole.
Some key points made by the Hon. Minister:
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are crucial to life; sanitation, safe water supply, management and hygiene will go a long way to promote health and prevent diseases such as Lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), schistosomiasis (snail fever), soil transmitted helminthiasis (intestinal worms), trachoma, dysentery, cholera, typhoid, diarrheal diseases e.t.c and will also reduce cost of health care services.
Record from the 2015 Joint Monitoring Programme of WHO/UNICEF (JMP)1 indicate an increase in access to water supply from 25% in 1990 to an estimated 57% in 2015 (32% increase) and a drop in access to improved sanitation from 38% in 1990 to an estimated 25% in 2015 (13% decrease) in the rural areas in Nigeria. With Nigeria population of over 180 million people and an ever increasing demand for water and sanitation services for public health, food production, and micro/small industries in the rural areas, calls for intensified efforts well beyond present endeavors.
The development of a compact portable water filter, Lifestraw being distributed in Nigeria by EnvironFocus Limited enables people to drink straight from sources such as rivers, lakes, streams and ponds. This Lifestraw would adequately remove particle and pathogens that may potentially cause harm/diseases thereby making it safe for human consumption.
This initiative is in line with SDGs 6.1 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Whatever partnership that Vestergard has with Kenya on the use of Lifestraw filters and WASH activities, Nigeria is one of the countries in Africa where this initiative should be expanded to. The launch of this initiative should not end at Lagos and Abuja, it should be scaled up to the public health endemic communities andschools in Nigeria.
Below is the transcript of Prof. Isaac F. Adewole, Federal Minister of Health, Nigeria’s Keynote Address at the LifeStraw Launch in Abuja
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