Open Defecation and Public Health in Abuja - Research Report
WASH services include basic access to clean water supply and appropriate sanitation facilities.
Despite efforts put in place by the Nigerian government such as the National Task Group on Sanitation (NTGS) and Community Led-Total-Sanitation (CLTS) approach to strengthen WASH programs and address policy sector gaps, Nigeria still lacks access to potable water and sanitary services. Factors contributing to poor WASH services in Nigeria include poor governance, structural and infrastructural factors, and widespread poverty. Lack of access to adequate WASH services leads to devastating health, environmental, and socio-economic and economic outcomes, and an increase in air and water contamination due to open defecation.
A large proportion of WASH-related diseases are associated with diarrheal disease and malnutrition which is a major contributor to infant morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. Individuals with poor socioeconomic status living in rural communities are most at risk for the negative effect of lack of WASH services due to existing inequality in the provision and access to WASH services and Facilities.
Abuja only has a small number of inequitably disturbed public restrooms, despite arguably being the most well-planned city in Nigeria. To examine the specific factors that influence open defecation in the city, the research team at Enyenaweh carried out research using qualitative and quantitative data collection processes to get firsthand information about the prevalent issues.
Data was sourced using questionnaires installed on handheld devices in marketplaces, schools, and churches/mosques to determine the behavioural factors that influence open defecation in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
Findings from the study indicate that 92% of respondents understood the health implications of open defecation, and the major factor responsible for open defecation is the lack of and poor maintenance of public toilets in the city.
Attaining the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) and eradication of open defecation by 2030 requires a whole of government and society efforts to contribute to healthy living in society. Therefore, government and relevant stakeholders should provide essential WASH services in rural communities and public places including motor parks, markets, and business complexes. Also, public enlightenment programs to promote attitudinal change towards eradicating open defecation Similarly, employers of labour, and business owners should endeavor to provide good sanitary services for employees, and customers respectively.
The environment is the superstructure on which the survival of other sectors rests. Therefore, keeping the environment clean is paramount for everyone.
The final report is available below