In planning a successful Christmas Party or for most festivals, toilets are not usually the first thing in the minds of most organizers. This is why Harpic, Nigeria’s No. 1 toilet cleaning brand from the stable of Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has reechoed the need for Nigerians, even at this yuletide season, to look beyond the need for cozy facilities and quality food and include clean toilet facilities, as the tempo of celebration mounts into Christmas and the New Year.
Commenting on this while analysing the impact of the just concluded World Toilet Day celebration, Reckitt Benckiser’s Marketing Director-West Africa, Mr. Oguzhan Silivrili said, “The availability of clean toilets should be an issue in a festive season like this, especially against the backdrop of over 32 million Nigerians not having access to functional toilet facilities and defecating in the open even in normal times. With this season’s daily merriment, drinking and eating, this challenge will definitely expand”.
Harpic, one of RB’s power brands has consistently put on the front burner the importance of having access to clean toilet and the potential health implications as well as the vulnerability it poses, especially to Women and Children.
At this year’s World Toilet day held at the Idi-Araba Community and Idi-Araba School Complex, Mushin, Lagos, Oguzhan Silivrili who spoke at the event explained that consistent enlightenment of Nigerians has become quite necessary because open defecation has multiple effect on the larger society as it affects living conditions resulting in increased Child Mortality, Cholera, Diarrhea in addition to its considerable social costs which include loss of dignity or risk of physical attack and sexual abuse. As a result, Nigeria Loses N455bln annually which is 1.3% of the Nigeria’s GDP to poor sanitation and hygiene which increases the risk of disease and malnutrition.
Silivrili spoke further at the event: “This year, WTD is focusing on the link between sanitation and nutrition, drawing the world’s attention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutrition and improved health. Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation, along with the absence of good toilet hygiene practices, are among the underlying causes of poor nutrition. The aim of World Toilet Day is to raise awareness about the people in the world who do not have access to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.”
He also pointed out that Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all. “Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year, fecal contamination of the environment is the root cause of an annual average of 5,400 cases of cholera affecting Nigeria. Harpic has been in the fore front of this campaign reaching 1,000,000 homes yearly across 16 cities within the country to educate consumers about how to keep a clean and hygienic toilet
Also speaking at the WTD event, Category Manager Harpic, Bamigbaiye-Elatuyi Omotola stated that Harpic’s toilet hygiene campaign initiative builds on the strong commitment already made by UN Member States. Her words: “ The “Sanitation for All’ Resolution (A/RES/67/291) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2013, designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. The Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders like Harpic”.
Prior to the event, Harpic had a community engagement walk in partnership with United Nations Information Centre, distributing fliers on toilet Hygiene and Sanitation in addition to one-on-one sanitation awareness and education to residents of Idi-Araba and environs on the need for better toilet hygiene practices. Members of the community were also taught basic hygiene techniques on how to maintain toilets, while Harpic demonstrated good toilet hygiene practices and also donated two mobile toilets to the community.
Message from the United Nations Secretary General, Dr. Ban Ki Moon was delivered by the UNIC Director, Mr. Ronald Kayanja while a brief pictorial presentation of the Sustainable Development Goals in relation to sanitation/WTD was equally presented.