As the world marks the United Nations World Toilet Day today, the Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN), an umbrella network of civil society groups working in the water and sanitation sector has urged governments across levels in Nigeria to take urgent steps towards eradicating open defecation by providing enabling environment for establishment and implementation of WASH policies, providing tangible resources for sanitation in yearly budget lines, provision of toilets in public places (motor parks, markets, schools, health centres, highways etc)
“As the world commemorates ‘World Toilet Day’ our hearts go to the 2.5 billion people across the globe who lack access to improved sanitation and numerous women and girls that are assaulted, raped and a times killed on their way to answer the call of nature in remote areas being excluded either due to lack of toilets or hindered by cultural beliefs from accessing them“, said in a statement signed by David Akuta, Programme Manager, NEWSAN
The world cannot to be safe with about 1 billion people still practicing open defecation globally.Open defecation is a public health crisis which takes the lives of hundreds of thousands of children in Nigeria each year, and stunts the children who survive. Widespread open defecation is a problem that is not only concentrated in the rural areas but rampant in most towns and cities across Nigeria.
Eradicating open defecation is indeed an urgent priority and should be treated so by government and all Nigerians.
We also urge the government,Federal and State Ministries of Health,and Education to take urgent steps to provide safe and functional toilets in all the hospitals, health centres and academic institutions across the country. Open defecation is rampant in most tertiary, secondary and primary institutions across the country while most hospitals/health centres do not have safe and functional toilets as seen in the picture below