UN Rank Nigeria Among Top 5 Countries That Defecate In The Open
The United Nations on Monday in Abuja ranked Nigeria among top five countries in the world with the largest number of people defecating in the open.
The UN, which in its recent report, revealed that 34 million Nigerians defecate in the public, however, expressed optimism that ending the unhealthy practice was possible.
The UNICEF Communication Specialist (Media and External Relations) in Nigeria, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, in a statement on the World Toilet Day, said trends in the past five years allow for cautious optimism that significant progress would be made in decreasing the number of people globally who practise open defecation.
Quoting a joint UNICEF and World Health Organisation report of 2012, Njoku said, “It is estimated that 34 million Nigerians practise open defecation and Nigeria is amongst top five countries in the world with largest number of people defecating in the open.”
According to him, in Nigeria, it is estimated that diarrhoea kills about 194,000 children under five every year while respiratory infections kill another 240,000.
“These are largely preventable with improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene,” he stressed.
Globally, UNICEF is supporting 50 countries including Nigeria to implement community approaches to total sanitation such as Community-Led Total Sanitation aimed at empowering communities to identify their sanitation challenges and take necessary actions to end open defecation.
He said, “CLTS aims to make all communities free of open defecation by focusing on social and behaviour change and the use of affordable, appropriate technologies.
“The emphasis is on the sustainable use of sanitation facilities, rather than the construction of infrastructure, and the approach depends on the engagement of members of the community ranging from individuals, to schools, to traditional leaders. Communities use their own capacities to attain their objectives and take a central role in planning and implementing improved sanitation.”
The UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Ibrahima Fall, said, “CLTS is simple and an effective way of improving access to sanitation while also paving the way for their improved health.”
Meanwhile, a Non-Governmental Organisation, WaterAid Nigeria, on Monday in Abuja stated that Nigeria had been losing about N455bn annually due to poor sanitation and bad hygiene.
The organisation also said about 54 million Nigerian women and girls did not have safe and adequate sanitation while 17 million of them did not have a toilet at all.
The Country Representative of WAN, Mr. Michael Ojo, and Head of Governance, Tolani Busari, at a press briefing on the World Toilet Day, however, said the crisis could be solved.