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Why Nigerians engage in open defecation — UNICEF

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By Rotimi Ojomoyela

ADO-EKITI—A water and sanitation expert, Mr Pius Eno, has traced the practice of open defecation among Nigerians to lack  of access to water and sanitation facilities.

Open defecation

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He said the practice, which is the major cause of contaminated water, has led to the outbreak of diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, gastyronomical disorder, among other delibitating diseases.

Eno, UNICEF resource person, said this at a Zonal Orientation Workshop for Local Government Area.

Participants at the event were drawn from Ekiti, Osun and Edo states.

Eno said: “In most rural communities in the country today, where there are no sanitation facilities, inhabitants practices open defecation, and the faeces are washed into the ponds, which are often the source of water supply, this contaminated water spread diseases like wildfire.

Currently, access to improved water supply is about 62 percent and even low as 29 percent for sanitation, a greater proportion found in rural areas and among lowest wealth areas.”

Explaining the effects of the menace on communities, Eno said: “Low level of school enrolment and completion rate especially among girl child, loss of family income to treatment of illness, loss of economic time to sickness or caring for sick ones and poor educational performance of children due to stunting.”

The Water and Sanitation expert, however, posited that the responsibility to solving water, sanitation and hygiene problems lies with the governments at all levels, communities and individuals.

He said that Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme was design to address the problems, adding that in Nigeria, UNICEF support WASH intervention with funding from European Union and Department for International Development.

His words: “Guide WASHCOM federations on the process for registration as civil Society group, develop a work plan of action, educate them on their roles and tools to ensure accountability in water and sanitation sector among others.


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