By Ahmed Ahmed
A non-governmental organization (NGO), WaterAid, has urged the Nigerian government to improve the working condition of sanitation workers for effective service delivery.
Dr Evelyn Mere, the Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, made the appeal in a statement signed by Oluseyi Abdulmalik, Communications & Media Manager, WaterAid Nigeria, to mark the 2021 World Toilet Day in Bauchi on Monday.
She also advised the government to urgently float policies to reverse the general practice in the sanitation value chain and improve the working conditions of sanitation workers.
“We must protect the rights of the workers who sustain our sanitation systems and contribute meaningfully to safeguarding the rights of this marginalised population of the society.
“We must ensure that all gaps in the sanitation value chain are covered.
“Without sanitation workers, sanitation systems will not function, and this will lead to catastrophic consequences in public health.
“Sanitation workers render a huge and valuable public service and they must be valued, supported, and protected,” Mere said
The country director also pointed out that with many workers undocumented and defecation still a huge taboo in many societies, tackling the issues surrounding the sanitation workforce is challenging.
She said that WaterAid was increasing awareness and raising support for sanitation workers, while advocating for government to recognise and protect the rights of the workforce.
“More researches are also being conducted to better understand how to help improve working conditions and empower these vital but forgotten frontline workers.
“WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation,” she said.
Our correspondent reports that saanitation workers include people who clean toilets and sewers, empty latrine pits and septic tanks and operate pumping stations and treatment plants.
“As well as those who clear faecal waste manually, sweep rubbish and transport faecal sludge, solid waste workers and cleaners,”.