By Doosuur Iwambe, Abuja
Nigeria loses about N455 Billion (1.3%) of her annual Gross Domestic Product, GDP, annually to poor access to sanitation, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
Speaking during a presentation to commemorate the World Toilet Day in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH Manager, Mamita Bora Thakkar said, about 102,000 children under the age of 5 lose their lives to diarrhea every year.
According to her, 90% of such deaths are directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.
Speaking on the impact of poor sanitation on child development , she said, “1 in 4 children the age of 5 exhibit severe stunting while 1 in 10 are wasted due to frequent episodes of diarrhea and other WASH related illnesses.
“Frequent episodes of WASH related diseases cause absence from school or work, as affected people take time off to heal, and some to take care of a sick relative.
“Poor Education Outcome: It reduced school enrolment and attendance due to time loss in search of water, also, frequent episodes of WASH-related illnesses and poor access to menstrual hygiene management facilities in schools.
“Loss of Dignity and Security: Open defecation results to loss of dignity, increased risks of insecurity and violence against women and children”.
To achieve the WASH Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs by 2030, Thakkar said, Nigeria requires the sum of N1.9trillion to end open defecation.
She stressed the need for the federal, state and local governments to ensure clean water and sanitation for all Nigerians.
“By 2030, we should achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
“We should achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all, and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”, she added.