Abuja — The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and an international non-governmental organisation, WaterAid, have revealed in separate but unified documents that 87 per cent (165.3 million) of Nigerians are without basic hygiene facilities in a conservative population of 190 million.
The reports, as revealed by the World Health Organisation/United Nations Children's Fund (WHO/UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) on the 'Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017', also stated that 26 per cent (49.4 million) of Nigerians practice open defecation, 67 per cent (127.3 million) do not have basic sanitation and 33 per cent (62.7 million) are without clean water.
In a recent training on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), UNICEF WASH chief specialist, Nigeria, Mr. Zaid Jurji said to reduce open defecation with a possibility of total eradication in Nigeria, there was the need for restructuring of the system, as well as technical and monitoring supervision in the face of the European Union grant which has been disbursed to help stem the tide.
He also added that a national sanitary programme to stop the prevailing phenomena will not be out of place, as it requires the full attention of everybody especially with the availability of European Union resources in some states to kick-start the campaign.
Similarly, WaterAid in a statement, called on the government and relevant stakeholders to support mobilising of resources to facilitate infrastructural improvements in water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools which will provide safe and private spaces for school girls to manage their periods hygienically.
The report states: "Globally, 844 million people in the world (one in nine) do not have clean water close to home. 2.3 billion persons globally (almost one in three) do not have decent toilets of their own. Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day or one child every two minutes.
"Every £1 invested in water and toilets return an average of £4 in increased productivity. Just £24 can provide one person with clean water.
"In Nigeria: 67 per cent of the population does not have basic sanitation. 26 per cent practice open defecation. 33 per cent of the population are without clean water. 87 per cent do not have basic hygiene facilities.
The international bodies have called for a curriculum policy reform, mobilisation of resources and the building of capacity.