As the World marked the 2014 World Toilet Day (WTD) on November 19, Harpic, – a toilet cleaner for Clean, germ free and odourless toilet from the stable of Reckitt Benckiser, the market leader in health, hygiene and home care products, has restated its commitment to clean and safe toilets in homes and other places. The company made this known as it celebrated the first WTD in Nigeria. With the theme “Clean Toilets, Healthy Homes”, this year’s WTD put on the front burner the importance of having access to a clean toilet and the potential health implications as well as the vulnerability it posses especially to Women and Children.
This has long-term impacts on women’s health, education, livelihoods and safety but it also impacts the economy, as failing to provide for the sanitation needs of women ultimately risks excluding half of the potential workforce. According to research, only 30% of Nigerians have access to Flush toilets while 20% still have no latrines as such are more prone to open defecation.
With the tagline ‘CleanHygenicToiletsWithHarpic’ the toilet Day was used to inspire action and underscore the urgency to maintain sanitary hygiene. It was also a gathering of policy makers in the health sector as well as the market leaders to give voice to the call for the provision of hygienic toilet nationwide.
As part of the efforts to drive it course on ensuring people have access to clean toilets in homes and communities, Harpic announced deploying of Free Harpic Experience Mobile Toilets and educating consumers on how to keep and maintain clean hygienic toilet sand push for a momentum for behavioral change
Speaking at the event, General Manager, Mr. Rahul Murgai stated that Harpic is leading the initiative in sustenance of Sanitary Hygiene and increasing Nigerians access to Safe, clean toilets with the aim of preventing diseases and reducing vulnerability and exposure of women to harm and danger in the search for privacy and access to good toilets.
The awareness campaign becomes necessary following the United Nations figure that 2.5 billion people globally do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development. In Nigeria, about 34 million people do not have access to clean toilets.
With the aim to draw global attention to the sanitation crisis, World Toilet Day was established in 2001. Since its inception, WTD is celebrated globally by NGOs, UN agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations and the international community. WTD continues to promote discourse and debate on toilets sanitation.
Marketing Director West Africa Mr. Oguzhan Silivrili, , stated that the Harpic Experience Moments is a set of activities that began with reaching 1million homes across 16 cities within the country to educate consumers about how to keep a clean and hygienic toilet. This world toilet day marks the flag off of the Harpic Mobile Toilet Experience Train that would be rolled out to increase access to clean toilet especially in public places where toilets are dilapidated or nonexistent. The Harpic train would kick off in Lagos state which has only 45% access to flush toilets in the following communities, Lagos Island, Mushin, Agege and Ikotun where residents will be sensitised on the need to maintain clean toilets. During these Harpic Experience Moments, Consumers – especially women – would be taught the simple methods of keeping their toilets clean using Harpic.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Cornelius Ojelabi who also spoke at the event, stated that Nigeria is one of the countries that practice open defecation the most. Represented by Engineer Akinwumi Babatunde, he stressed that one of the ways to tackle this is to provide more toilets and make sure they are kept clean and the gender sensitive to those using it, especially for physically challenged individuals.
He commended Harpic for celebrating the day and for focusing on the campaign to end open defecation with its attendant effects on the health of the people and the environment in general.
In the same vein, the State Commissioner for Health, Hon. Olajide Idris said the ministry appreciates and support what Harpic is doing in ensuring that the huge figure of 34 million Nigerians without access to toilets is reduced drastically. Represented by Mr. Sobowale Abayomi, Deputy Director Environmental Health Services, the commissioner said the state government is doing all that is necessary to ensure that people in the state do not practice open defecation.
In her comments, the Iyaloja of Oke-Arin provision market, Alhaja Kuburat Osho enjoined women to focus on taking very good care of this very important part of their home as the toilet and kitchen are essential parts of a healthy family. She applauded Harpic for bringing the initiative to them and also by going to the grassroots with sensitization exercises of this nature which she noted would impact positively on the populace.
The World Toilet Organization was founded by Jack Sim, a Singapore business tycoon in 2001 and it is now a growing network of 235 organisations in 58 countries including Nigeria where a “World Toilet Day” is celebrated to create awareness towards improving the state of toilets and sanitation globally.