The wife of Osun state, Mrs Kafaya Oyetola has urged residents of the state to desist from open defecation in order to safeguard their health and get rid of diseases. Mrs Oyetola made the call during a conference on the eradication of open defecation in Osun West Senatorial district in Ikire on Tuesday. Osun first lady expressed happiness that one of the very serious development challenges facing their state is being tackled. She said open defecation is a major challenge which is born out of an agelong practice of the people. “It is the practice of defecating in the open places such as fields, back of the houses, and every open place other than in toilets.” She noted that open defecation carries grave health consequences for all of us as it serves as a destroyer of our health and pollutant of our environment. The governor’s wife stressed that every time we step out to openly defecate, we are deliberately inviting water borne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and typhoid to ravage. “This is apart from the fact that the diseases occurring from the practice could enhance sexual and other violence against our women and our girls especially when they have to go out in the dark to defecate in the open places.” Mrs Oyetola while condemning the act said another crucial consequence of open defecation is that the diseases arising from the practice could negatively affect the education of children by makin children miss schools when they are sick. “It has been found out that open defecation is one of the factors leading to mortality among children under five years of age.” She said Governor Oyetola’s administration has made healthcare one of the major pillars of its programmes by being committed to enhancing the health facilities in the State especially the primary health care facilities. She enjoined mothers, especially the nursing ones to exclusively breastfeed newborns for the first six months. She stressed that researches have shown that breastmilk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. “Babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first 6 months, without any formula, have fewer infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of Diarrhoea. Diarrhea is a leading disease arising from open defecation practice.” She called on mothers to be at the forefront of this campaign to stop open defecation in order to guarantee the health of our communities and our state. She equally called on traditional, religious leaders, local government authorities, women groups, market organizations, transport organizations and even school proprietors to support this campaign. “We shall visit our schools and other public places for the sole purpose of driving the use-the-toilet campaigns. Of course, the sanitation officers would be engaged very actively on this campaign. “The time has come to free our state of open defecation. Let us imbibe the practice of using toilet and enhance our health”, she stated. In his address, the Deputy Governor in highlighted reasons for open defecation which includes carelessness, laziness, lack of public conduct and ignorance on the part of the general public on the dangers of Open defecation. He therefore urged the local government chairmen across the state to make stringent laws to curb open defecation and enforce such laws. He also admonished all stakeholders to take proper measures in sensitising the public on the dangers of open defecation.
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