The Federal Ministry of Environment has revealed that over 3.5 million children suffer from diarrhoea in the country.
This was made known by the Permanent Secretary, Ibrahim Yusufu during this year’s National Environmental Sanitation Day, themed, ‘Promoting sustainable waste management for a healthy environment: stop open dumping’.
He called for improved hygiene, noting that poor sanitation was responsible for a significant number of preventable communicable diseases.
Yusufu noted that sanitation and hygiene is not only fundamental human right that safeguards public health and human dignity but also essential need when it comes to disease prevention.
He said, “Poor sanitation has been identified as being responsible for a significant percentage of preventable communicable diseases particularly in developing countries including Nigeria. A large number of children die every year due to sanitation and hygiene-enabled diseases. More than 3.5 million children suffer from diarrheal diseases and this is not a small figure. Children, who are less than five years old, are more prone to such diseases.”
“The advent of emerging and re-emerging diseases such as COVID-19, Lassa Fever, Monkey pox, Cholera etc. in Nigeria has further underscored the fact that access to Sanitation and Hygiene is not only a fundamental human right that safeguards public health and human dignity but also an essential need when it comes to disease prevention.
“This year’s National Environmental Sanitation Day, therefore calls for individuals, communities, governments at all levels, development partners etc. to be involved in the planning and implementation of sanitation and hygiene activity within their immediate environment, community and the nation at large.
Speaking on the 2023 theme, Yusufu said it is a clarion call for partnership and timely considering the critical role sanitation and hygiene play in preventing and controlling the spread of infectious diseases such as Cholera, Typhoid fever, Lassa fever, COVID-19 virus, Monkeypox virus, among others.
“Let me at this point use this forum to call on all State Governments, Commissioners of Environment, Local Government Chairmen and Councilors, Environmental Health Officers, NGOs, CBOS, FBOs, Development partners, Organized private sector, Traditional and Religious leaders etc. across the country to actively step up their Sanitation and hygiene campaigns as an effective means of controlling and preventing disease transmission,” he added.
The permanent secretary commended the contribution of the World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme, Water Aid, Action Against Hunger, Procter and Gamble, and other stakeholders for supporting and raising awareness on sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria.
A Director in the ministry, Mr. Charles Ikeah, lamented that open dumping of waste has been a detrimental practice that polluted the environment and pose serious health hazards to people.
He said, “The consequences of open dumping are far-reaching, affecting not only the present but also the future generation. It is a problem that demands our immediate attention and concerted efforts.
“By addressing the issue of open dumping, we contribute to the preservation of our natural resources, reduction of pollution and protection of lives. It is our duty to safeguard the environment for our children and grandchildren, ensuring that they inherit a planet that is conducive to healthy living.”
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