Nigeria is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration of The Right to Water, which entitles everybody living in Nigeria access to sufficient, affordable, safe and acceptable water for both personal and domestic uses. There is no doubt that Nigeria is blessed with abundant water resources (Estimated at 226 billion cubic meters of surface water and about 40 billion cubic metres of ground water), but poor access to portable water is a common problem in Nigeria.
Nigeria is rated poorest in the provision of quality and adequate water supply to its citizens in the whole of Africa after ranking as the number one country in open defecation. Poor access to improved water and sanitation in Nigeria remains a major contributing factor to high morbidity and mortality rate among children under five. The use of contaminated drinking water and poor sanitary conditions result in increased vulnerability to water-borne diseases, including diarrhea which leads to deaths of more than 70,000 children under five annually. 73% of the diarrhea and enteric diseases burden is associated with poor access to adequate water and sanitation, which is mainly borne by poorer children in the rural community.
It is unfortunate that over 70% of households in rural communities in Nigeria do not have access to portable water supply. They rely solely on self water supply (Free source) such as rivers, water ponds, perennial streams, unprotected wells which is susceptible to water-borne diseases such as Typhoid, Fever, Cholera, Dysentery, and Malaria parasites e.t.c. The rural populations are largely deprived and lack access to safe and adequate water supplies.
A research has shown that:
- 80% of diseases in developing countries(Including Nigeria) are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation.
- 60 million Nigerians or 33% of the population have no access to clean and adequate water supplies (One in every three people don’t have access to safe water)
- 120 million Nigerians lack access to basic household toilet (i.e two out of three do not have a decent household toilet).
- 24% of the population practice open defecation (one in three Nigerians practice open defecation).
- 166 million people do not have a way to wash hands with soap (7 in 10 people who are more likely to be ill and many leads to death.
- 50% of schools are without basic toilets.
- 30% of Healthcare facilities do not have a safe water source.
In conclusion, it was reported that every seconds, a child dies as a result of unsafe water and poor sanitation. The network for Africa infrastructural development and transparency (NAIDAT) are committed to building an efficient and effective (Community driven) Primary Healthcare Centre.
Mr Mathias Ezenwaka,
Executive Director, NAIDAT