WaterAid Nigeria has said over million under five Nigerian children have died since 2000, due to poor access to water and sanitation services.
In an open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon to mark the World Toilet Day, today, the body said called for global action to stop the waste of life caused by people not having access to a basic toilet. Without basic sanitation, children have no choice but to live and play in areas contaminated by human waste
Seven in ten children in Nigeria do not have access to a basic toilet, which alongside unsafe drinking water and a lack of hygiene services, contributes to three of the main killers of children: under nutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea, the letter states. Today also sadly reminds us of the current crisis we are facing in West Africa where Ebola has taken the lives of so many. This is further exacerbated by the cholera outbreak that has continued to plague neighbouring countries like Niger, Ghana and Sierra Leone as well as pocket outbreaks of the disease in Nigeria – resulting in many sick children in our part of the world. A lack of safe toilets and clean water is a major factor contributing to this.
WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo today said:
“The dangers of poor sanitation and dirty water have been known for around 150 years, yet 121 million people (about 72% of the population) do not have a basic toilet to use in Nigeria and nearly 40 million still defecate in the open. This lack of access to basic sanitation harms the health of children and often leaves a lifetime legacy of disease and poverty.This crisis has claimed the lives of over 10 million children under the age of five since the year 2000, with 1.1 million having died over this period in Nigeria also contributing to this figure. Those children need our government to collectively step up and commit that by 2030 no home, hospital or school will be without a toilet and clean water.”
The letter was jointly signed by 35 other international health and development experts including representatives from AMREF Health Africa, the World Medical Association, Commonwealth Medical Association, Global Health Council, International Confederation of Midwifes, the Nigerian Medical Association, Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, the Health Reform Foundation of Nigeria, the Nigerian Red Cross Society, and the Nigerian Medical Students Association .
The open letter includes the call for the UN Chief, Ban-Ki Moon ‘to lead the world to a future of better health, dignity and prosperity for all by championing a dedicated goal to deliver water and sanitation to everyone, everywhere by 2030.’