By Shaibu John, Iyobosa Osifo, Onyinye Ojeh, Blessing Okoh Uduma, Jane Adizue and Lizzy Idoko
In the heart of Nasarawa state, a story unfolds of a certain community known as Panda which suffered from a severe water shortage. The neighborhood was surrounded by contaminated water sources and the people shared water sources with cattle and other livestock, which availed them of water-borne illnesses. With no source of safe water, school enrollment, and agricultural output decreased significantly in the community.
This silent crisis persisted for years, affecting all especially children and mothers. During one of our house-to-house visits carried out in collaboration with Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendors (PPMVs), we met Mrs Edward, a spirited 38-year-old farmer who attests to the negative impact of no reliable source of water for her and her family. She said aside from the impact on her health and that of her family members, her financial prospects decreased because she had to walk long distances to fetch water when her kids got home from school due to a lack of clean water within their environment leaving her with little time to work on her farm.
With a heart overflowing with thankfulness, she appreciated the Water, Sanitation & Hygiene for Healthy Lives (WASH4HL) intervention which signalled a revival and brought hope to communities including hers through the provision and distribution of P&G water purifiers, which are offered cost-free to communities to enhance good health and improve healthy living.
This transformative access to clean water has helped Mrs Edward as she said her daily tasks became much easier, and improved hygiene became an important part of her routine. Her farm and finances gradually benefited which also freed up resources for growth and reduced the strain of treating illnesses always brought on by the use of contaminated water.
From point-of-use water treatment demonstrations to sensitisation campaigns focusing on safe water systems, sanitation, and hygiene in communities, the WASH4HL intervention brings into play various factors put together to make real, lasting improvements as in the case of Mrs Edward and the people of Panda community as well as other intervention communities.
A pivotal impact of this intervention is the emergence of active WASH clubs in community schools that are now fostering a new generation of change-makers. Through coordinated effort in its execution, progress is not fleeting but lasting. It demonstrates that it is possible when we unite to confront pressing challenges. It also serves as a reminder that change is possible and together, we can create a clean and healthy world for all.
With an unwavering commitment to improving lives, the Society for Family Health (SFH) through the WASH4HL intervention with funding support from Procter & Gamble (P & G), will continue to take critical steps for more access to clean water, and advocate for good hygiene, thereby transforming communities.