“Most primary health centers in Nigeria lack good washing facilities. At the Lugbe PHC, there is no washing sink in the labor room, so water has to be fetched from the tap outside and brought to the mother. A health worker who wants to wash her hands will have to fetch a bucket. It is not possible for us to do our jobs as midwives without access to water, sanitation, and handwashing stations.”
-Rita Momoh, WBFA Midwife
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.
That visit was followed by a formal submission to the 2018 United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The intervention was made in relation to the forum event “Partnerships that Deliver for Girls and Women – an interactive dialogue to break down silos and achieve the SDGs” organised by Women Deliver. Further advocacy took place in August 2018 at world Water Week in Stockholm, the annual focal point for the world’s water issues and this year world leaders will assemble to address the theme ‘Water, ecosystems and human development.’ These public statements and advocacy are and will continue to be supplemented by private, direct interventions with politicians, government departments and global institutions.