The Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, has on Tuesday, November 10, in Abuja, launched the 2019 WASH NORM II Report. This is a National Survey being conducted annually by the Ministry in collaboration with National Bureau of Statistics, UNICEF and African Development Bank. The maiden survey (WASH-NORM I) took place in 2018 while the current survey (WASH-NORM II) covers 2019.
In his address, the Minister said that the survey was borne out of the need for comprehensive data on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene for effectively monitoring the progress Nigeria is making towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals targets 6.1 and 6.2.
According to Adamu, the WASH-NORM II provides more statistics than the maiden edition due to its enhanced scope and methodology. He said, “A cursory look at the report shows that a total of 331 WASH parameters were covered under WASH-NORM II in comparison to 271 in the WASH-NORM I,” adding that this was sequel to modifications made which include: National Water Quality Assessments, Household WASH expenditure Tracking and Urban Water Utilities Mapping, thereby further growing the stock of WASH data and information available in the sector.
The Minister noted that the information and data in the WASH-NORM II Report are quite revealing, encouraging and instructive based on the following key findings: The percentage of the population with access to basic water supply services has steadily increased from 68% in 2018 to 70% in 2019, about 9 million more people gaining access to basic water supply services between 2018 and 2019, even as 44% of the population were found to have access to basic sanitation services in 2019 compared to the 42% in 2018; indicators across the country showing a slight improvement as 44% of the population were found to have access to basic sanitation services in 2019 compared to the 42% in 2018; about a third of all schools (33%) having basic water supply services while only 26% of schools provide access to basic sanitation services, amongst others.
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Engr. Adamu said that gaps in handwashing should immediately be seen as a major public health issue, consequent upon which stronger high-level commitments with policy initiatives based on evidence-informed interventions to close the gaps in access to WASH services are needed. Some key policy initiatives, he said, have already been enacted at the national level, including the Partnership for Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme, Open Defecation Free (ODF) roadmap with the Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet Campaign and National Action Plan for Revitalization of the WASH sector. He, therefore, called on State and Local Governments to beef up efforts in domesticating national programmes with strong commitments backed by adequate budgets for rapid turnaround in the sector.
The Minister, thereafter, notably said that Nigeria is clearly in the right direction due to the opportunity presented by the NORM survey in tracking WASH critical indicators. In order to ensure real-time and seamless flow of WASH data, the innovative NORM dashboard and NORM Intervention Profiling Tool are now available at www.washims.gov.ng with associated factsheet that clearly captures the WASH situation at subnational levels.
He expressed optimism that this is a legacy that he hoped would be bequeathed to the new generation of WASH Implementers at all levels and tiers of Government.
Also speaking, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, said, “the results from this survey underline the urgent need to increase investments in sustaining and expanding access to hygiene, water and sanitation if we are to contain the spread of the CORONAVIRUS and other deadly diseases. This should include partnership with the private sector, communities and with young people. The results also provide us with a critical roadmap on exactly where we need to put our resources.
- Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, flanked by other officials, unveils the WASH NORM II Report