Bauchi State Government in collaboration with United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and DFID has provided safe drinking water to a total of 2,150,898 people in rural communities across 12 selected Local Government Areas. State Commissioner of Water Resources Jidauna Tula Mbami, who disclosed this yesterday during the commemoration of the 2020 World Water Day, said, “Between 2017 to date, under the DFID/UNICEF supported SHAWN Project, a total sum of N2.5 billion was expended for the construction, rehabilitation of WASH facilities spread across the project LGAs of Dass, Warji, Gamawa, Shira, Toro, Bogoro, Ganjuwa, Zaki, Bauchi, Katagum, Ningi and Alkaleri in rural communities, schools and Primary Health Care centres (PHCs.)
He said that the sum of N20 million was released by the Bauchi State Government as sanitation pool fund to be managed by Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) as a revolving fund to increase the construction of improved households’ latrines as an effort to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He explained that Water and sanitation related diseases are one of the leading causes of death in children under 5 years old.
“Every day, over 700 children under 5 die from diarrhoea linked to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene. And with the emergence of diseases like Coronavirus (COVID-19), which calls for regular hand washing with soap to safeguard against contracting the disease, the importance of water cannot be over-emphasized,” he said. He further said the government is also committed to providing safe drinking water to urban dwellers in the state, as demonstrated by its commitment to the ongoing improvement and refurbishment of decaying water infrastructures in the Bauchi metropolis and other zonal townships, under the World Bank supported intervention. He added that plans are underway for the construction, rehabilitation of several water supply schemes in semi-urban communities under the African Development Bank (ADB) supported Inclusive Basic Service Delivery and Livelihood Empowerment Integrated Programme (IBSDLEIP), with about 2.3 million additional people expected to gain access to safe water in urban and semi-urban areas.