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47 million Nigerians indulge in open defecation – UNICEF

By Mbonu Onyinyechi Christiana

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Child’s Rights Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information during a two-day Media Dialogue held at Kakanfo Inn and Conference Center Ibadan, Oyo state have enlightened the media practitioners on the economic, social and health impact of Open Defecation on national development.

Bioye Ogunjobi, WASH Specialist, UNICEF has regretted that Nigeria ranks second among countries practicing open defecation globally.

He further stated that more than 100,000 children under five years of age die each year due to diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.

According to the findings from the 2018 WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) survey, 24 percent of the population (47 Million People) practice Open Defecation in Nigeria.

In November 2018, the Nigerian President declared a state of emergency in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment for eliminating open defecation in the country and launched a national campaign to jump-start the country’s journey towards becoming Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2025.

The Federal Ministry of Water Resources (FMWR) with support from UNICEF Nigeria and other development partners and in partnership with inter-ministerial agencies, civil society organizations, the media, the private sector and the people of Nigeria is currently leading the “Clean Nigeria : Use the Toilet” campaign to end open defecation by 2025 and achieve universal access to safely managed sanitation.

“Clean Nigeria : Use the Toilet” is an ambitious behavior-change in Nigeria with a strong citizen engagement components. Leveraging on what is currently working (Best Practice) in states with Local Government Areas (LGAs) and communities certified as ODF, this campaign is a national movement hinged on policy advocacy and private sector management.

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