World Toilet Day 2017. The World Stand for a Seat in the Toilet

The world toilet day is marked on 19 November annually, to highlight the importance of toilet in achieving the sustainable development goals. According to the 2017 Joint Monitoring Report by WHO and UNICEF, about 4.5 billion people, globally, live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste. This report is a revelation of the decadence and neglect in the sanitation sector.

Nigeria is the most populated country in Africa with a population of about 184 million and this figure is projected to reach over 300 million by 2030. The average age of the current Nigerian population is 18, and 45% of the population are under the age of 15. Hence, the country is predominantly youths and its youthful population is expected to grow over the years. There are presently over 62,406 schools in Nigeria with little or no statistics on the state or functionality of toilets in these schools. Most toilet facilities, especially in public schools in rural areas, are in a state of neglect and poorly managed, where they exist.

4.5 billion people do not have safely managed sanitation

Globally, more people own a mobile phone than a toilet

315,000 children die each year due to poor toilet sanitation

38 workers die every hour from a disease caused by lack of sanitation

50% of all malnutrition cases are associated with inadequate sanitation

For every $1 invested in toilet sanitation, there is a $4.30 return on reduced health care

Children comprise one of the poor and vulnerable group that is adversely affected by the poor sanitation facilities in homes and schools.  Playgrounds are turned into dumpsites for poo while girls in school do not have access to a safe toilet to change and clean themselves during menstruation. The latter not only have adverse health effects but also affect girls’ attendance in schools while killing their dreams.

Mrs Lara Kwachai, a school teacher in one of Nigeria’s public school, when interviewed by Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, confirmed that the poor state of toilet facilities in schools affect the health of children, especially girls who are menstruating and suggested that each toilet should have a water supply, sanitizer and soap.

Some of the pupils interviewed by Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation, said they prefer to defecate in the bush because of the poor state of the toilets in their schools. Mr. Yakubu Nakawu, the head teacher of a public school in Nigeria, reiterated that open defecation by students and community inhabitants, affect the health and performance of students in schools. He further advised for a collaborative effort from all stakeholders to ensure schools without toilets are provided with one, as its importance cannot be overemphasized.

The world toilet organization believes that every school child should have access to a clean, safe toilet. As we mark another World Toilet Day, it is imperative to inspire actions from all stakeholders in the sanitation sector, to pay more attention to state of toilet facilities in schools. Schools are the training ground for the teeming youth population in Nigeria. Therefore, for the sanitation target of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals to be achieved, it is important to provide a clean and safe toilet in Nigerian schools.