Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) have commended the emergence of the Sanitation and Hygiene fund, which is backed by the United Nations.
This was contained in a signed statement made by the AHBN Coordinator, Dr Aminu Magashi Garba released to Journalists, on Wednesday, November 18, at the AHBN Secretariat in Abuja, Nigeria
AHBN encouraged the United Nation and the new Global Financing mechanism, ‘Sanitation and Hygiene Fund’, to support developing countries with adequate funding to improve the challenges of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, including at healthcare facilities.
Magashi also called for transparency and accountability and inclusion of Civil Society organizations, young people and women groups in the governance structure of the new mechanism to promote multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral responses.
The Sanitation and Hygiene Fund is been hosted by the UN Office for Project Services , a specialized UN entity providing service, technical advice and implementing projects for the Organization and partners globally.
UN Deputy Secretary, General Amina Mohammed disclosed that safe sanitation and hygiene is a health issue. While noting that the basic hygiene of washing of hands and being able to have a toilet that is accessible is key to enabling healthy communities in the longer term.
“This is critical to the response that we want to see, first, because it is about human dignity; and also a health issue. Many of the world’s most serious diseases stem from poor sanitation and hygiene, pandemic has blown the lid off this fact, with over three billion people lacking access to basic hand washing facilities, which is a key action to keep the virus at bay.”
According to her, the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund is set to take on the centuries-old crisis centred on sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health, which now impacts more than four billion people across the world.
The Fund which is a Global financing mechanism will provide accelerated funding to countries with the heaviest burden and least ability to respond, focusing on four strategic objectives.
“Expanding household sanitation; ensuring menstrual health and hygiene; providing sanitation and hygiene in schools and healthcare facilities; and supporting innovative sanitation solutions.”
The Fund aims to raise $2 billion over the next five years to support the efforts.
The Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore called on countries to treat sanitation as a public good. “Even though proper sanitation is at the core of development to any community, family or individual, over 600 million schools and countless households do not have toilets and many lack basic sanitation services”.
“During a lockdown, how do you cope with the fact that your household does not have a toilet? This is particularly difficult for girls and women. If everyone had access to sanitation and hygiene in households, in their schools, in their health facilities and communities, it would make an enormous difference in our world”
She further called on government to own the fact that sanitation should be a problem that should be solved by them and seek necessary measures to curb the challenge.
More details on the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund can be found at https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/11/1077812