Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Clean Nigeria: Why toilets are important

For many of us, toilets are ordinary everyday items that we take for granted.

Toilets are essential for clean, and healthy communities and contribute to the social as well as economic development in Nigeria.

It is important to note that, the use of toilet is crucial to saving the lives of thousands of children from diseases globally.

For women and adolescent girls, sanitation is important for their health, safety and dignity. Also, for these set of people, toilets provide a space to manage their menstrual hygiene, and are important measure in lowering the risk of harassment when defecating in the open around dusk and dawn.

Open defecation in fields, railway tracks, garbage dumps, parks and roadside ditches is incredibly dangerous, as exposure to human waste causes diarrhoea and other diseases that can be deadly, especially for children.

Health experts say, diarrhoea and other sanitation related diseases can prevent children from being able to absorb the nutrients in their food, leading to under nutrition.

For this, the United Nations recognised World Toilet Day, in 2013 and it was estimated that 2.4 billion people globally had no access to improved sanitation facilities. Of them, 946 million defecate in the open.

In Nigeria, about 47 million people are still practising open defecation according to the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,, WASH Specialist, Mr Bioye Ogunjobi.

Ogunjobi said the situation must be addressed to limit resources spent on payment of medical bills.

He said the campaign "Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet," is geared towards urging Nigerians to cultivate the habit of using toilets and desist from practising open defecations.

However, experts say, ending open defecation is not just about access to toilets, it’s about generating demand for toilets and getting everyone to use them every single day. It is an age old practice that is seen as ‘normal’ in many communities.


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