By Etta Michael Bisong
As the United Nations mark the 2014 World Toilet Day, WaterAid Nigeria has lamented that over 121 people representing about 72% of the entire population still lack access to basic toilet in Nigeria.
WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Micheal Ojo estimated that nearly 40 million Nigerians still defecate in the open.
These lack of access to basic sanitation Dr. Ojo said harms the health of the children and often leaves a lifetime legacy of disease and poverty.
The Country Representative gave the statistics during a strategic media round table discussion to commemorate the 2014 World Toilet Day in Abuja.
“Those children need our government to collectively step up and commit that by 2030 no home, no hospital or school will be without a toilet and clean water,” he said.
According to him, the open letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, coincides with a new briefing released by WaterAid: ‘Child of Mine’ which states that sanitation ‘remains one of the most neglected issues in developing countries and international development aid.”
The briefing highlights, “this is despite a quarter of the 162 million children globally who have had their growth stunted and their physical and cognitive development impaired, because they suffered repeated bouts of diarrhea when very young.”
The theme of this years World toilet day is ”Equality and Dignity”
Meanwhile, according to the World Health Organization, WHO, 88% of cases of diarrhea are caused by a lack of access to basic sanitation, unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene provision.
Globally, over 12 million children are estimated to have died from 2000 to 2013 because of diarrhea diseases. Of these deaths, 10.6 million have been as a result of a lack of these services..
WaterAid Nigeria is calling on the government to commit to becking a new goal for everyone to have access to clean water and basic sanitation by 2030.
In his correspondence to WaterAid, the Executive Director of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Development Agency, Dr. Ado Mohammed noted that, “poor sanitation, hygiene and lack of clean water contributes to the deplorable health conditions especially among children and women in Nigeria.
In view of this and the goal of Federal Government to eradicate transmission of the Wild Poliovirus in Nigeria at the end of the year, Dr. Ado stressed that polio is an oral feacal disease thriving under poor hygiene and sanitation conditions as well as an unavailability of clean water sources.
“We lend our voice to the call for universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene,” he said.