Prof Joseph Utsev, Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, announced that the ministry has reactivated its laboratories across Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones to help control the spread of cholera.

Utsev made this statement on Tuesday at the ongoing 5th Lagos International Water Conference, themed “Financing Water and Sanitation for a Greater Lagos.”

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He stated that these laboratory facilities would enhance the detection and monitoring of cholera cases, facilitating quicker responses and more effective containment measures.

“This action reflects a proactive approach to public health management and underscores the importance of robust infrastructure in tackling infectious diseases,” Utsev said.

He highlighted the necessity of proactive measures for extensive public sensitization on personal hygiene and ensuring the proper treatment or boiling of water and cooking of food and vegetables.

He emphasized the importance of increased investment in the water and sanitation sector, urging state governors, development partners, and the private sector to prioritize these efforts.

Utsev reassured that the Federal Government would continue to support states through various interventions to ensure access to clean and safe water and improved sanitation for all.

He stressed the necessity of public-private partnerships, stating that such collaborations would attract private investment, enhance efficiency, and ensure sustainable service delivery.

He added that the government would leverage private sector expertise and capital to upgrade existing water infrastructure and expand coverage to underserved areas.

The minister also advocated for community-based organizations to mobilize resources and implement low-cost, decentralized solutions tailored to local needs, particularly in the areas of operation and maintenance.

Utsev underscored the significance of international development assistance in financing water and sanitation projects in Nigeria, noting the importance of grants, loans, and technical assistance.

He called on state governors and traditional and religious leaders to intensify campaigns against open defecation and to build more decent toilets to discourage the practice, aiming to achieve an open defecation-free status by next year.

Lagos State Governor Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu reiterated his administration’s commitment over the past five years to addressing the water needs of Lagosians.

However, he acknowledged the significant gap that still exists in achieving access to clean and safe water.

The governor called for more practical actions and support from the Federal Government, development partners, and other stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector.

The three-day International Conference featured presentations from notable figures, including Mrs. Jette Bjerrum, the Consul General of Denmark in Lagos.

Other representatives from USAID and development partners also discussed the role of partnerships and collaboration in improving water governance in the country.