Seventy-eight million children in Nigeria are at the highest risk from a convergence of three water-related threats: inadequate Water, Sanitation, and hygiene-related diseases and climate hazards. The UNICEF Nigeria Chief of WASH, Dr. Jane Bevan, who stated this in a statement made available to journalists in Bauchi, said a new UNICEF analysis indicates that one-third of children do not have access to essential water at home. Two-thirds do not have critical sanitation services.
Dr Jane Bevan said hand hygiene is also limited, with three-quarters of children unable to wash their hands due to a lack of water and soap at home.
According to her, this made Nigeria one of the ten 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 one hundred and sixty-three 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. 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 rapidlyscale upp investment in the sector, including global climate financing, sand trengthen climate resilience in the WASH sector and communities.
She said ito ncrease effective and accountable systems, coordination, and capacities to provide water and sanitation services and implement the UN-Water SDG six Global Acceleration Framework.
Dr. Jane Bevan observed that continuing at the current pace would take Nigeria sixteen years to achieve access to safe water for al;, howeve, he, thee time to move quickly is now.
She added that investing in climate-resilient water, sanitation, and hygiene services is a matter of protecting children’s health toda ando ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.
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