Nigeria accounts for about 39 million of the 2.4 billion people in the world practicing open defecation, Chief Operating Officer, Green World Matters Ltd, Hajiya Ladi Rekiya Faruk, has said. Hajiya Faruk gave the figure in a welcome address delivered at a seminar to commemorate this year’s World Toilet Day in Kaduna.
She noted that children drink water that is mixed with faeces dumped indiscriminately in rivers and other sources of drinking water, and called for an end to the practice.
“Every day, children drink water that is mixed with faeces which is dumped indiscriminately in rivers and other sources of drinking water.
“This phenomenon causes a child to die every 2.5 minutes from diarrhea which has become the third biggest killer of children under five years old and from cholera, dysentery and other water borne diseases especially in the developing world.
“It is estimated that 1 in 3 of the world’s population has been said not to have access to safe, clean, private toilets while about 2.4 billion people still defecate in the open.
“Incidences have been recorded of women being raped as they make to find dark, hidden, isolated and convenient places to ease themselves while girls have left schools for being unable to clean themselves adequately during their menstrual cycles.
“In the course of our clean-up exercise, we realized that some of the drainages and gutters around the metropolis have been converted to toilets. This discovery lends credence to the high rate of recurring and seemingly untreatable ailments amongst residents and the need for the provision of public conveniences.
“Sanitation, which is the safe separation of faeces and refuse from human contact and the environment, ensures that people are protected from the spread of preventable diseases such as soil transmitted helminthiasis, diarrhea, chronic malnutrition in children and cholera.
“This problem cannot be left to government, the private sector or to NGOs – we must all work together to create a synergy that will put sanitation issues at the top of our development agenda.
“Ending the practice of open defecation can help reduce hospital visits, child mortality, rape and others,” she said.