Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

The situation

What UNICEF is doing




The situation

UNICEF Nigeria
© UNICEF Nigeria

Nigeria has made substantial progress in developing policies and strategies for water supply and sanitation service delivery, but faces major challenges in translating these into action.

About 70 million people, out of a population of 171 million, lacked access to safe drinking water, and over 110 million lacked access to improved sanitation in 2013. Open defecation rates, at 28.5 per cent pose grave public health risks.

Every year, an estimated 124,000 children under the age of 5 die because of diarrhoea, mainly due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. Lack of adequate water and sanitation are also major causes of other diseases, including respiratory infection and under-nutrition.

Many schools in Nigeria lack safe, private toilets and hand-washing facilities. This affects enrolment and performance, particularly in the case of girls. The impact of water, hygiene and sanitation falls disproportionately on women and girls, the main carriers of waters.

UNICEF has contributed to the eradication of guinea worm disease. In 2013, Nigeria was certified free of the disease. By comparison, 653,620 cases of guinea worm disease were recorded in Nigeria in 1988.

The economic impact of poor sanitation and hygiene cost the Nigerian economy the equivalent of almost 1.3 per cent of gross domestic product.

Conflict and natural disasters exacerbates the situation.





Photo essay: Handwashing made easy


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