Nigeria is in the top 3 worst countries in the world for the number of people without toilets, reveals WaterAid’s State of the World’s Toilets 2017 report.
As a result, nearly 123 million people still suffer the fear and indignity of relieving themselves in the open or in unsafe or unhygienic toilets – a situation that is most dangerous for girls and women.
‘Out of Order,’ WaterAid’s third-annual analysis of the world’s toilets released ahead of World Toilet Day, reveals that globally, one in three people still have nowhere decent to go to the toilet, and demonstrates how women and girls bear the brunt of this global crisis. For more than 1.1 billion women and girls, this injustice results in an increased risk of poor health, limited education, harassment and even attack.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, comes in at third place for the worst countries for the numbers of people with access to basic sanitation. Despite being sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economy, it is also sixth worst for addressing open defecation, with the percentage of people defecating in the open increasing from 22.6% in 2000 to 25.5% in 2015.
The proportion of people without basic sanitation has also gone up, and two thirds of schools have no decent toilets. This sanitation crisis contributed to the deaths of nearly 60,000 children each year from related diarrhoeal diseases.
All 10 of the world’s worst countries for access to basic sanitation by percentage are in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 28% of people have a decent toilet, and children are 14 times more likely to die before the age of five than in developed regions.
Oluseyii Abdulmalik, WaterAid Nigeria’s Communications and Media Manager said: “Seven in ten people in Nigeria have nowhere safe to go to the toilets, equating to an overwhelming 123 million people. This denial of human rights contributes to the deaths of around 165 children under five every single day, and holds women and girls back from fulfilling their potential.
“We need urgent action to turn this situation around. Addressing the sanitation crisis with particular focus on the needs of women and girls will help lift entire communities out of poverty.
“We often call on Government to prioritise sanitation and investment in the sector and while this is as it should be, sanitation is really everyone’s responsibility. We all have a part to play – as individuals, property/home owners, families, work groups, unions and associations, civil society organisations, the media, the private sector, and yes, Government at all levels.”
WaterAid is calling for governments to invest more money and spend it transparently and efficiently, paying particular attention to the needs of women and girls
· Promote the value of sanitation for gender equality and female empowerment, and involve women as leaders to ensure solutions address the challenges women and girls face.
· Improve coordination to create gender-friendly toilets in all schools, healthcare facilities, work environments and public spaces.
· Combine plans to improve access to sanitation with efforts to redistribute water and hygiene work, which is predominantly the responsibility of women and girls.