United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) child mortality data shows that Nigeria is among the five countries contributing about half of the global under-five deaths.
Other countries include India, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan and China. Two countries- India (24 percent) and Nigeria (11 percent) together account for over a third of all cases
deaths of children under-five years of age.
The report said that these same countries also have significant populations without improved water and sanitation.
As the world celebrates World Water Day with the theme” International Year of Water Cooperation” UNICEF urges governments, civil societies and ordinary citizens to remember that behind the statistics are the faces of children.
UNICEF said that diarrhoea is more prevalent among children whose households do not have an improved source of drinking water (8 percent). Children from rural areas are more vulnerable to diarrhoea compared to their urban counterparts.
About 16% of child deaths were attributed to diarrhoeal diseases in 2007. Globally, almost 90 percent of child deaths from diarrhoeal diseases are directly linked to contaminated water, lack of sanitation, or inadequate hygiene. Of the 783 million people worldwide without improved drinking water, there are 66 million in Nigeria. On the other hand, there are 109 million people in Nigeria without improved sanitation. These high numbers of people without access places Nigeria third and fourth on the list of countries globally with large populations without access to improved water sources and sanitation respectively.
A major success of UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programme contributes to the interruption of Guinea Worm disease transmission in Nigeria.
The Government of Nigeria, UNICEF, WHO, The Carter Centre, JICA, and numerous other partner cooperated to make the disease interruption possible.
REGIS ANUKWUOJI, Enugu