AUTHOR: MOSES, ANIEFIOK JOE (Ph.D)
DEPARTMENT: Public Health
SCHOOL: School of Health Technology
AFFILIATION: Federal University of Technology Owerri
This study was carried out to evaluate sanitary conditions in relation to the prevalence of waterborne diseases and their socio-economic impacts in Nigeria. A cross sectional descriptive design was adopted, and a multi-stage sampling procedure was used to collect data from 2,523 subjects aged 10-69 years in households in 48 communities, in 24 LGAs within 12 selected States in Nigeria using questionnaire, walk-through inspection and observation checklist. The results showed that 1,633 (64.7%) of subject stated that they used covered waste bins to store their waste. However, it was observed that the practice of indiscriminate dumping of waste was rampant and 2,135 (84.6%) of subjects said that they dumped their waste behind their backyard, near their houses, in central dumpsite or in the drains, and that 50% of those handled waste for disposal were children. Over 1,438 (57%) of the subjects were not following proper hand washing procedures, while 1,670 (66.2%) were not boiling water from doubtful sources before drinking. However, it was noted that despite this appalling situation, 2,195 (87) of the subject said they were well informed on sanitation issues and their implication on health. There was no evidence of significant provision of sanitation services such as waste management, regular house-to-house inspection, enforcement of sanitation regulations, etc., in the communities. It was further noticed that economic power played significant role in sanitation and there was significant relationship (P=0.05) between sanitary conditions and the prevalence of water-borne diseases in the selected states, which was impacting negatively on the socio-economic and health well-being of the population; making them even poorer because of frequent out-of-pocket expenditure on health. Therefore, it is recommended that the Federal Government should establish a National Sanitation Coordinating Agency for policy formulation, coordination and intervention in sanitation matters. The State Governments should provide sanitation infrastructure like sanitary landfill and waste treatment plants in strategic locations, and partner with LGA and NGOs to educate members of the public on sanitation matters. Community members should regard sanitation as a way of life, hence a daily affairs.
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