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Millions of people in Nigeria lack access to clean water

ABUJA, Nigeria –– UNICEF and the Nigeria’s Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recent study shows that millions of households and families in Nigeria do not have access to clean water sources.  According to the report, the UNICEF and NBS findings say while the supply of clean water in Nigeria has improved in recent years, 3 in 10 people in Nigeria’s 200 million population still lack access.

Scientists and numerous researchers found that access to clean water positively affects a person’s community. For example, access to clean water reduces vulnerability in disaster because communities affected by disaster, either natural or man-made, are more resilient if they have access to safe water and sanitation.  

Access to water also supports improved sanitation in that sanitation facilities among displaced people are necessary to avoid the spread of disease, especially to weakened or injured people.

The lack of access to clean water, however, has had many ripple effects that impact health, education, income, and quality of life.

Scientists have also found out that water-related illnesses, most of which are preventable, are among the leading causes of death and disease in the world, particularly in Africa and among children.

The lack of clean water also has serious effects on students’ academic performance and attendance rates. For example, if teachers are sick, classes get canceled for all students.  It means education which is critical for breaking the cycle of poverty becomes affected too.

In addition, some of the effects of drinking contaminated water can be immediate, while others may not be noticed for many years. These health effects can include gastrointestinal and stomach illnesses like nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea.

Besides, things like waterborne diseases are caused by drinking contaminated or dirty water. Contaminated water can cause many types of diarrheal diseases, including Cholera, and other serious illnesses such as Guinea worm disease, Typhoid, and Dysentery. Water related diseases cause 3.4 million deaths each year.

Therefore, public professionals, health policymakers and others want the Nigerian government and President Muhammadu Buhari to focus on ensuring that most Nigerians have access to clean and safe drinking water.

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Dave Okonjie

Dave Okonjie is a public affairs analyst, researcher and senior issues correspondent.
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