As the world marks International Toilet Day on Tuesday with the theme ‘Leaving No One Behind’, Nigeria, where an estimated 47 million people defecate in the open, is involved in a number of activities advocating for the use of clean toilets.
Data from the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) shows that 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation and 673 million still practice open defecation worldwide.
Nigeria’s federal minister of the environment (FMoE) Alhaji Mahmood recently stated that Abuja’s commitment to addressing the sanitation challenges and ensuring proper management of excreta was in line with the country’s declaration of a state of emergency on water, sanitation and hygiene last November.
Nigeria has flagged a series of activities, including engaging with the media to advocate for clean toilets, to fight the problem which causes nearly 87,000 diarrhoeal deaths in children under the age of five annually while poor sanitation contributes to several other neglected tropical diseases.
The FMoE and stakeholders have also organised a 10,000-man march against open defecation, community awareness campaigns and the commissioning of practical demonstration facilities for the department of environmental health at the University of Ibadan and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Anambra state.
– ANA, editing by Stella Mapenzauswa