November 24, 2018

Stop open defecation, Health expert warns Nigerians

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An Abuja based Public Health Expert, Mr Gabriel Adeyemo, on Saturday, urged Nigerians to adopt good hygiene and stop open defecation.

Adeyemo in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said open defecation should no longer be acceptable in the society, because of the devastating impact on public health, nutrition, education and economic productivity.

He said most houses in rural communities do not have toilets while some houses in urban centers have limited toilets which further encourage open defecation in the environment.

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Adeyemo said open defecation was associated with high level of diarrhea, stunting and mortality.

According to him, improving sanitation and eliminating open defecation was a national and state priority, codified both in the road map to Eliminate Open Defecation by 2025 by Federal Government and UNICEF 2016.

“It is important that communities are empowered to realise the negative impact of open defecation on health and well-being.

“There is need for rural communities and urban suburbs to improve on sanitation through construction and continues usage of ventilated pit latrines as well as building adequate toilets in homes.

“Also nutrition and sanitation goes hand in hand and unhealthy way of defecating needs to be eradicated.

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“Some people use toilets without washing and sanitising their hands, however, this could cause infection which does not only affect the individual but the entire people in a household,’’ he said.

Adeyemo, further urged government to provide public toilets, maintained and cleaned at intervals as well as equipped with hand sanitisers and medicated soap for proper hygiene.

The public health expert said in maintaining proper hygiene, toilets built in neighborhood houses should be 20 to 40 meters radius away from each other while every household should have at least two toilets.

He admonished everyone, especially women to maintain proper hygiene, by keeping their toilets and environments clean to avoid infection adding that human waste spreads killer diseases.

“Women are 60 per cent more prone to getting infected than men due to differences in their reproductive organs and the open structure of their genitals.

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“Pelvic inflammatory diseases, staphylococcus, hepatitis are some of the infections that are common in women when using unclean toilets,’’ Adeyemo said.

He added that men also contract infections from unclean toilets such as hepatitis, staphylococcus, while inflammation such as boils, diarrhea, cholera among others are common in children.