150, 000 Children die annually in Nigeria due to Poor Sanitation
Poor sanitation and the intake of unsafe water, which results in diarrhea kills about 150,000 children in Nigeria annually, the United Nations Children’s Education Fund has said.
It called on parents to make children see the need to always wash their hands and maintain safe hygiene at all times as this would reduce deaths caused by diarrhea by almost 50 per cent.
The UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Chief in Nigeria, Mr. Kanaan Nadar, disclosed this on Wednesday at the occasion of the 2014 global hand washing day celebration organised by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja.
He said, “In Nigeria every year, we have about 150,000 children that die largely due to diarrhea mostly associated with unsafe water sanitation and hygiene. Hand washing can actually step down this diarrhea death to almost 50 per cent and reduce pneumonia to almost 40 per cent. So hand washing is really important.”
Nadar said hand washing with soap had made a major difference in the fight against the Ebola virus disease, adding that it had been one of the major tools against the spread of the virus in most of the Ebola affected countries.
He said, “In the fight against the spread of the Ebola virus, hand washing with soap, as an important tool, has made additional line of difference. Choose hand washing for this is apt given the prominence that hand washing has gained especially in this particular time of crisis in a number of countries.
“Everyone can choose to wash his or her hand with soap after using the toilet and before eating or touching food, thereby creating healthy environment not only for themselves but also for the family and the larger society.”
In her address, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe, said the hand washing programme was being celebrated because it had the capacity to save lives and reduce the disease burden in Nigeria.
She said, “Today across Nigeria, over 250,000 pupils from 100 selected schools are participating in the global hand washing campaign and will be demonstrating the process of hand washing with running water and soap.
“As you are aware, human faeces are the main sources of the transmission of pathogens. And when poorly handled, it can cause a lot of diseases like cholera and diarrhea among others which can be deadly especially among children. Statistics have shown that about 157 children under the age of five out of 1,000 die of diseases that can be prevented. This is unacceptable.”