The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Garbai, on Friday agreed to lead UNICEF’s cholera prevention campaign in the state to prevent an outbreak of the endemic and seasonal disease.
Speaking during an advocacy visit by UNICEF Chief Field Officer in Borno state, Geoffrey Ijumba on Friday, the Shehu said that the emirate will support UNICEF’s interventions.
“The issues you raised regarding healthcare, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, including education are very critical in a land facing humanitarian challenges. I would personally work hard to record improvement to alleviate the suffering of our vulnerable people. This is a task we must achieve in favour of children and for the future. Traditional leaders in Borno would work hard to ensure that our people are aware on the dangers of cholera and how to prevent it,” said Shehu.
The royal father commended UNICEF for providing humanitarian and developmental assistance to children.
“We always appreciate the good work UNICEF is doing over several years in Nigeria and the northeast in particular, especially during the conflict which posses a huge challenge to people particularly children and women,” he added.
The Shehu regretted that children had lost a good part of their lives out of school due to the insurgency and called for efforts to mobilise enrollment of children back to school.
Earlier, Ijumba, commended the emirate for prioritising its support for women and children in all areas of UNICEF’s activities in the state.
Ijumba said that his team was in the Shehu’s palace to seek for support in the campaign against Cholera outbreak, promote safe hygiene and school enrollment campaign.
“The specific issues that I would like to bring to your attention is that we are going into the rainy season. And right now there has been instances of Cholera outbreak in some part of Borno. We would like you to take with the help of other traditional rulers to sensitise the good people of the state to promote cleanliness, hygiene and good sanitation. On our part, we will deploy a team of community mobilisers to conduct house to house sensitisation in every community to promote hygiene in preparation for the rainy season. We want to also make sure that water for drinking in Borno is properly stored and safe for drinking,” he said.
He expressed his disappointment over the refusal of the people in the state to accept “water chlorination”. We hope this time around, you will take a very strong message to them on the importance water chlorination. We will work together with the government, RUWASA and other partners to make sure that this is done,” he said.
Water chlorination is the process of adding chlorine or hypochlorite to water.
This method, the UN said, is used to kill certain bacteria and other microbes in tap water as chlorine is highly toxic.
The UNICEF official lamented poor enrollment of pupil into schools adding that half of the children in the state were out of school.
He assured the Shehu that UNICEF would embark on a campaign to support school enrollment.