How “Tippy tap” Helped Our Healthy Lifestyle – Kebbi Community
By Uangbaoje Alex, Birnin Kebbi
Residents of Bunzugu community in Gwandu Local Government Area of Kebbi State, on Saturday disclosed that their healthy lifestyle was as a result regular hand wash through the use of “tippy tap”.
Bunzugu, is a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Open Defecation Free (ODF), certified community, with an estimated population of 445, with 156 households.
Tippy Tap is a simple hands-free and hygienic device for hand washing with running water, particularly designed for people in rural areas where there is no running water.
Jerrican of water, usually four or five-litre with a small hole near the cap is filled with water and tipped with a stick and rope tied through a hole in the cap.
It is operated by a foot lever and thus reduces the chance for bacteria transmission as the user touches only the soap.
Mr Shehu Adamu, who spoke on behalf of the community, told journalists that the technology was introduced in the village under UNICEF and European Union (EU) Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.
Adamu said that the programme was implemented under the UNICEF and EU Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition (MNCHN) Project, which commenced in 2016.
He explained that members of the community use to defecate in the open and share available space with their women mostly in the cover of trees and shrubs at the back of their houses.
He added that their children equally defecate on any available space in the room, around the house and sometimes close to where their women cook.
He also said that the community do not know the importance of hand washing, particularly after defecation among other unhygienic practices.
According to him, their children are always sick from diarrhea and other preventable communicable diseases until the community was sensitised against such unhygienic behaviours under the WASH programme.
“We were sensitised on good sanitation and hygiene practices for healthy living, free of preventable diseases affecting mostly our women and children.
“Consequently, we mandated every households to dig a pit toilet and installed the tippy tap for hand washing after defecation, including a public toilet for visitors.
“We equally banned open defecation in our community; conduct routine sanitation where our women clean the houses while the men clean the village surrounding and now, we are open defecation free.”
Adamu said that the technology was the best thing that has happened to them considering the improved hygiene it has brought to the community.
He added that the health condition of the community members, particularly women and children has significantly improved courtesy of the WASH programme.
He, however, appealed to the state government, UNICEF, EU and other stakeholders to assist the village with a source of water.
He said that the only source of water in the community currently was an old well, which sometimes dries up during dry season.
Bunzugu is among 25 communities that benefited from the MNCHN’s WASH programme in 25 health centres located in the communities.
UNICEF said that additional marginalised, vulnerable and disadvantaged populations in 40 communities would benefit from the WASH programme before the MNCHN project winds up in August.
It added that as part of the project, community mobilisers would continue to educate rural dwellers on healthy sanitation practices using low-cost sanitation improvements in their homes.