Says $20bn funding gap remains challenge for WASH in Nigeria
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As Nigeria joins the world to commemorate World Toilet Day 2020, WaterAid Nigeria, yesterday, revealed that 112 million Nigerians do not have toilet of their own.
This was made known at a briefing tagged, ‘Living in a fragile world: The Impact of Climate Change on the Sanitation Crisis’ highlights the link between poor sanitation and the transmission of fatal, but preventable illnesses – such as cholera with examines of how these are now compounded by the effects of climate change.
Where decent toilets are lacking, human faeces can contaminate the groundwater or end up in rivers and lakes, polluting what is often the only supply of water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Children play on ground rife with pathogens and as a result of faecal contamination, whole communities can contract diarrhoeal diseases.
WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets.
World Toilet Day 2020 was marked on November 19, 2020 with theme, ‘Sustainable sanitation and climate change’ across the world.
World Toilet Day is celebrated on 19th November every year. It is a United Nations Observance that celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
“Further, inadequate sanitation in healthcare centres increases the risk of them becoming the epicentres of epidemics as only 7% of healthcare facilities in Nigeria have access to basic water and sanitation services and only 3.6% to combined water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services; putting the lives of doctors, nurses, midwives and patients at risk”, WaterAid Nigeria stated.
According to WaterAid Nigeria climate change currently aggravates the sanitation crisis with extreme weather conditions including floods, rising temperatures, prolonged droughts are causing irreparable damage to weak sanitation systems and causing illnesses to spread further in vulnerable communities.
An estimated 250,000 additional deaths per year are predicted between 2030 and 2050 due to climate change and many of these deaths will be linked to poor sanitation.
“Poor sanitation impacts the entire country – it is estimated that Nigeria loses 1.3% of its GDP annually due to poor sanitation. In 2018, the Nigerian Federal Government declared a state of
emergency in its water, sanitation and hygiene sector, and launched a National WASH Action Plan in response to the huge challenges linked to the poor sanitation and hygiene.
“This was followed the next year by the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ campaign, which aims to end open defecation by 2025”, it added.
Expressing concern over $20 billion annual funding gap for WASH in Nigeria, the organization called for scaling up of funds in the next 10 years.
“However, there is a $20 billion annual funding gap for WASH in Nigeria to achieve universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.
“It is clear that there will need to be a significant up-scaling of resourcing over the next decade if the National WASH Action Plan is going to create real results for the people of Nigeria.
“WaterAid is calling for urgent action from the Nigerian government and the international community to increase investment in sanitation services. Safe, reliable, and inclusive sanitation services help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
“The international charity is encouraging governments to include ambitious sanitation plans in their climate change adaptation strategies so communities are better prepared to withstand the impacts of climate change”, it added.
Meanwhile, the Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria, Evelyn Mere, pointed out that despite the world rising to the challenge of the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, there are yet
hundreds of thousands of people dying as a result of lack of clean water and decent toilets including other basic hygiene facilities.
Mere said: “Whilst the world has rightly urgently risen to the challenge of Covid-19, every year hundreds of thousands of lives are silently lost because of lack of clean water, decent toilets and hygiene.
“Having these basic human rights in place helps to stop infectious diseases in its tracks and decent sanitation systems are even more vital as the impact of climate changes bites on vulnerable communities.
“WaterAid’s report shows that climate change has intensified the sanitation crisis, with increasingly frequent and extreme weather events, destroying toilets and sanitation systems, putting the health and lives of millions of people around the world at risk.
“The government must respond now to the urgent threat of climate change, and recognise the vital role climate-resilient sanitation plays in helping vulnerable communities be more prepared for climate change; because despite contributing the least to it, it’s the world’s poorest people currently suffering the brunt of its destructive impact.”
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Source: Vanguard Newspaper