Dr. Samuel Eleojo, a Public Health Practitioner, has called on Nigerians to intensify efforts on menstrual health awareness.
Eleojo told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Abuja that sanitation menstrual health should not be ignored.
“As Nigerians, we need to advocate for change, challenge harmful norms and build stronger communities for our daughters, sisters, and mothers.”
“We should elevate our voices across country to secure sanitation for all,” he said.
The expert said that menstrual health was vital to the empowerment and well-being of women and girls in the country.
According to him, it is also about ensuring that women and girls lived in an environment that supports them to manage their menstruation with dignity.
Eleojo stressed that this initiative would provide a platform that would give a voice to the marginalised sections of Nigerians.
He said that it would also work extensively on critical issues such as menstrual hygiene management and sanitation for girls and women in the country.
The specialist said that awareness campaigns should enable every Nigerian to understands behavioural science that would be critical to creating public awareness or driving behavioural change.
“There has to be a systematic approach with a well-planned mass-level campaign where all Nigerians would come out fully for their daughters, wives, sisters, and mothers.”
“It should be followed by an interpersonal communication through dedicated and well-trained last-mile volunteers in the country,” he said.
He explained that the lack of safe water, sanitation, and proper hygiene practices could adversely impact the health, education, productivity and economic status of Nigerians.
Eleojo said that it could also lead the country towards poverty.
“In other words, sanitation and hygiene have a powerful multiplier effect that unlocks measurable benefits in health, nutrition, education, poverty eradication, economic growth, and tourism,” he said
He stated that it would also reduce discrimination and empower rural dwellers.
The expert said that a 100 per cent sanitation coverage could avert deaths due to diarrhea disease, protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), and even the novel Coronavirus (COVID19), that every Nigerian is scared of.
He, however, suggested that the government should prioritise to sustain the gain made in sanitation and hygiene in the country.
He stressed the need for the government to demonstrate unprecedented progress on sanitation.
According to him, there are still issues such as irregular usage of toilets, poor construction quality, and water scarcity in some locality across the country.
“The idea is that making the actions of the people more observable adds social pressure towards a preferred behaviour.”
“By making open defecation more ‘observable’ as a socially unaccepted behaviour, together we can apply social pressure to motivate ourselves to build toilets,” he said.
The expert, while acknowledging that there was a political commitment, stressed that there was a need for the government to stay committed to its efforts through donor partners and other relevant agencies to help the country improve and sustain WASH access.
He called on the Federal Government to ensure sanitation access for the most vulnerable and marginalised sections in the country.
Eleojo added that the government should plan a holistic water security framework to ensure safe, sustained and adequate access to water for all Nigerians.