AHF Stamps out Thirst in Rural Nigeria

In Global Featured, Nigeria by Julie Pascault

Thousands of rural Nigerians now have access to safe drinking water following the construction of an AHF-commissioned borehole (water well) for the Agan community in Benue – a state in north-central Nigeria.

Community leaders hold a ceremony to officially open the water well.

Prior to the installation of the more centralized well, the entire population of Agan, roughly 6,000 people, had only one source of safe drinking water—a restored well at AHF’s community clinic. Those who lived far from the facility had to travel great distances for clean water or get water from streams and rivers.

“It is impossible to maintain your health without access to safe, clean water. For a total cost of a little more than one dollar per community member, I’m happy to report that we went beyond building a simple borehole that would benefit only a few people,” said Dr. Echey Ijezie, AHF Nigeria Country Program Director. “Instead, we installed a borehole, water tank, and a water pump with solar panels as backup for electricity—all of which benefits the entire Agan community.”

According to UNICEF, children under age 5 are, on average, 20 times more likely to die from diarrheal diseases associated with poor water, sanitation and hygiene than from violence in conflict. Water and sanitation–related diseases are one of the leading causes of death in children under 5 years old.

Acting Executive Secretary of the Benue State AIDS Control Agency Dr. Awodi Jacob officially declared the borehole open for use on Oct. 12. ‘‘We thank and appreciate AHF, and we will always see you as our partner in progress in Benue state.’’ He also applauded AHF for its efforts, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Head, Zaki Chief Utume also expressed the joy of the entire community, as the borehole means their women and children will not have to walk long distances in search for water.

AHF has been working in Nigeria since 2011 and provides HIV care and treatment to 22,285 registered clients, including 10,735 in Benue State and 1,036 served through AHF’s Agan clinic.

Agan community members help each other access water from the borehole. It is common to see rural Nigerians without face masks and foregoing the observance of social distancing measures.

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