78 million children in Nigeria are at the highest risk from a convergence of three water-related threats.
In a statement, UNICEF Nigeria Chief of Water Sanitation and Hygiene, WASH, Dr Jane Bevan said a new UNICEF analysis indicates that one-third of children do not have access to basic water at home, and two-thirds do not have basic sanitation services.
Dr Jane Bevan noted that hand hygiene is also limited, with three-quarters of children unable to wash their hands due to lack of water and soap at home.
According to her, this makes Nigeria one of the 10 countries that carry the heaviest burden of child deaths from diseases caused by inadequate WASH, such as diarrhoeal diseases.
She noted that Nigeria also ranks second out of 163 countries globally with the highest risk of exposure to climate and environmental threats.
According to her, the groundwater levels are also dropping, requiring some communities to dig wells twice as deep as just a decade ago and at the same time, rainfall has become more erratic and intense, leading to floods that contaminate scarce water supplies.
The UNICEF Nigeria Chief of WASH emphasized the need for relevant organizations to rapidly scale-up investment in the sector, including global climate financing, strengthen climate resilience in the WASH sector and communities.
Dr Jane added that investing in climate-resilient water, sanitation, and hygiene services is not only a matter of protecting children’s health today, but also ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.
Writing by Murtala Muhammad; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade