WASH is the collective term for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Poor access to improved water and sanitation in Nigeria remains a major contributing factor to high morbidity and mortality rates among children under five. The use of contaminated drinking water and poor sanitary conditions result in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases, including diarrhoea which leads to deaths of more than 70,000 children under five annually. Seventy-three per cent of the diarrhoeal and enteric disease burden is associated with poor access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and is disproportionately borne by poorer children. Frequent episodes of WASH related ill-health in children, contribute to absenteeism in school, and malnutrition. Only 26.5 per cent of the population use improved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities. Also, 23.5 per cent of the population defecate in the open. Blue Gate Initiative therefore is working for the;
- Provision of equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.
- Strengthen government efforts to eradicate the practice of open defecation.
- Strengthen tailored community approaches to total sanitation including Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in rural, peri-urban and riverine settings.
- Strengthen national and states capacity to develop and implement equitable and gender-sensitive WASH policies, strategies and guidelines.
- Ensure sustainability of water services in rural communities