Regular sources of water in Nigeria are derived from streams, rivers and lakes on the surface as well as from hand-dug wells and boreholes from the underground source. When in season, rain water is sometimes also collected and used for drinking and cleaning, too, in the rural areas.
Traditionally, leaving home very early at dawn to fetch water from the local source used to be a daily routine thing for women and youngsters in the village to accommodate each family’s drinking, cooking, hygiene and sanitary needs. This, from my point of view, might be why making water available directly to individual family unit homes has been anything but a success.
At best, pipe-borne water is mainly visible at, or close to, the seat of governments.
Unicef estimates that about 63 million of Nigerians do not have access to safe and clean water. The result is the prevalence of waterborne diseases such as Typhoid fever, dysentery, gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A and the occasional outbreak of cholera. These sometimes result in death. Over eighty percent of these deaths are, tragically, children under the age of five. In a report published by Science Q in March 31 2014, Adeyinka S. Y. et al reports that 130,000 Nigerian children under the age of five die annually from preventable waterborne diseases.
Even though not everyone who contacts waterborne diseases dies from them, the symptoms of these illnesses – which include abdominal discomfort (cramping), fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue – take a big toll on the wellbeing and economy of the afflicted.
I once caught Typhoid fever. The long, drawn out treatment along with the time it took me to be back on my feet again is not something I would wish on anyone. At Hope Spring we aim to assist people in the rural communities of Nigeria in avoiding this preventable suffering and loss of life by making a clean source of water available to them. This endeavour will set them on their way to a healthier and vastly improved existence.