Monday, 20 April 2015

A hospital without access to clean water and safe toilets

A recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that 29 percent of healthcare facilities in Nigeria do not have access to clean water and safe toilets. The report, 'Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Healthcare Facilities: Status in Low and Middle income Countries and Way Forward," noted on average one woman in every 23 in Nigeria would lose a baby to infection during their lifetime due to unhygienic conditions.

Most likely, the bulk of the '29 percent' are government-owned hospitals; with most wards lacking access to running water. In some cases, patients have to fetch water from taps running outside the ward or buy from vendors. To have a clean and safe toilet, having a steady supply of water is of paramount importance.

According to the nongovernmental organisation WaterAid, 63.2 million Nigerians do not have access to safe water, and 112 million, that's about two-thirds of the entire population, lack access to adequate sanitation.

Figures released by the UN children's organisation UNICEF indicate that over 97,000 children die from diarrhoea, rated as the third biggest killer of children under-5 in Africa, while Nigeria accounts for 11 percent of all global under-5 deaths.

Hopefully the new Government will make developing the health sector a priority reducing this 29 percent to zero.

But the problem is not that of the government alone to tackle. Communities, corporate organisations and well-to-do individuals can also intervene to improve access to clean water and sanitation across the country to save the lives of children.

Boiling water is a common method of purification to kill germs and parasites. For best results, bring the water to a boil and leave it boiling for an extra minute to purify it. If the water is cloudy or contains debris, filter with cloth, sieve, coffee filter or by placing cotton at the bottom of a funnel before boiling.

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