The WBFA and its partners are committed to improving WASH in healthcare facilities, schools and communities in Nigeria and around the world. WBFA midwives will be given a global platform to share their WASH experiences to further the above roadmap, and to campaign on a national level for improved WASH in HCF. WBFA Midwives will lead WASH training in MamaCare classes and visit healthcare facilities to advocate for WASH. The Founder-President will use her global platform to promote the above roadmap and work to promote WBFA programmes and advocacy goals.
In May 2018, WBFA Founder-President H.E. Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki launched a global WASH campaign in Abuja at a meeting with Dr. Wondi Alemu, WHO Representative and Head of Mission in Nigeria. Mrs Saraki announced that the WBFA would work with partners including Global Water 2020, an initiative based in Washington D.C. which is designed to accelerate progress toward water access and security for all people in developing countries, with a particular focus on increasing the availability of WASH in healthcare centres.
A key element of that partnership is advocacy for improved WASH standards, both in Nigeria and round the world.
To that end, in June 2018 Mrs Saraki led a delegation to Washington D.C. to take part in multi-lateral meetings with the US State Department, the World Bank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the American Academy of Sciences and members of the United States Congress. The visit as intended as both an information gathering exercise and to engender a new spirit of co-operation on WASH. Each meeting highlighted the extent of the challenge.
For instance, World Bank Data revealed that in Nigeria, WASH indices have actually suffered an alarming decline from an already critical condition. Access to piped water on premises in urban areas dropped from 30% in 1990, to less than 10% in 2015, and for Nigeria to achieve the WASH SDGs, it must invest at least three times more than it does today.
The WBFA’s MamaCare midwives have taken up the mantle of improved WASH standards to their antenatal and postnatal classes, and advocate strongly to staff at the healthcare facilities at which they give their classes.
In August, as the United Nations marked International Youth Day, the WBFA took its pioneering PSHE and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) education programme to schoolchildren in Ogun State, Nigeria.
The WBFA’s programme is based on its Adolescent Skills and Drills, Personal Social and Health Education Curriculum, the first locally-developed PSHE curriculum, which is formed of three core pillars – Your Rights and Your Body, Health Relationships, and Planning Your Future. Within those main areas an extensive range of topics pertinent to the health and wellbeing of young people are covered, with a focus on WASH.
The cohort of children, aged between 8 and 17 years old, were taught the WHO standard of hand washing techniques in addition to further break-out sessions, in line with the commitment of the WBFA to support the attainment of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. This pilot, which took place over two days, educated 237 children at the Ogun State Summer Camp, before an anticipated roll-out across the state and throughout Nigeria.
The WBFA launched its global WASH campaign alongside the WHO and in partnership with Global Water 2020. It also works with Governments and States to implement WASH programmes and instigate change.
In September 2018 the WBFA partnered with Unilever Lifebuoy Nigeria and Sightsavers to improve hygiene practices to impact more than 2 million children over the following 12 months. As part of Unilever’s relaunch of Lifebuoy in Nigeria, the WBFA joined new brand Ambassador, renowned Afro-pop singer-songwriter Omawumi, in Lifebuoy’s global Help a Child Reach 5 campaign.
The partnership works on programmes which promote hygiene messages and prevent disease, advancing critical hygiene interventions such as handwashing with soap, addressing the issue of child illnesses and mortality due to preventable diseases.
More than 215,000 children under the age of five in Nigeria die to preventable infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia each year – the highest across Africa. The simple act of handwashing with soap is one the most cost-effective, yet often overlooked ways that could have prevented many of these deaths.