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Impact of sanitation on survival

Tue, 16Feb2010

worthy of reprinting:  Here is the beginning of a great article by Francisca Oluyole in the Daily Triumph

Impact of sanitation on survival
By Francisca Oluyole


UNICEF reports recently indicated that diarrhea prevalence rate in Nigeria is 18.8 per cent.
The rate, according to the report, is “one of the worst in sub-Saharan Africa”.
For many experts, the situation is “just not good enough” for a leading producer of crude oil, especially as children remain the worst victims of such a preventable disease.
Associated mostly with vomiting, purging and dehydration, diarrhea has been identified by the Nigerian health authorities as the second largest direct cause of child morbidity and mortality in Nigeria.
According to statistics from UNICEF, diarrhea accounts for more than 16 per cent of child deaths. That is a total of 150,000 deaths amongst children under five, annually.
Experts trace the disease to a lack of access to basic sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices.
They say it is closely connected with malnourishment, as undernourished children usually have a compromised immune system and are also at a higher risk of developing pneumonia.
Recent reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have confirmed that Nigerian children will continue to be victims of diarrhea as the country is said to be one of the seven high-population countries with
total sanitation coverage of less than 50 per cent.
In effect, less than half of the population has access to improved sanitation and the access is as low as 10 per cent in some states with the situation worse in the rural areas.
The situation, according to the reports, has worsened in the last two decades, with environmental sanitation problems resulting in an escalating negative impact on public and environmental health.
Experts say poor environmental sanitation in Nigeria is characterised by the presence of heaps of refuse in cities, indiscriminate disposal of solid and other wastes, blocked drains, overgrown weeds, among others.
The state of food sanitation in homes, markets and abattoirs is equally appalling and unwholesome as food meant for human consumption is exposed to dust, flies, bacteria and other micro-organisms, they say.
The experts say that such probably accounts for the increasing cases of food-borne diseases such as cholera, food poisoning and typhoid fever.
According to Mr Jones Abari, an Abuja-based community health expert, the lack of safe and private toilets and hand-washing facilities in schools has ensured a quicker development of sanitation-related diseases on children. ….

to read full article  by Francisca Oluyole in Daily Triumph go to http://www.triumphnewspapers.com/impact1522010.html R/AUWAL 1 1431 A.H. published MONDAY  FEBRUARY 15 2010.

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