Public Sanitation Dilemma in Niger

Public Sanitation Dilemma in Niger
Public Sanitation Dilemma in Niger
With the recent cholera outbreak in the densely populated town of Bida in Niger State which is a major town connecting Northern and Southern Nigeria there is need for something to be done. The area has been reported as the worst hit in the cholera outbreak with three deaths so far. According to Mallam Baba Buhari, the Disease Surveillance and Notification Officer (DSNO) for the area, Bida has recorded about 267 cases of cholera from June 3 when the outbreak started, with eight persons haven lost their lives. Kyari Ward, which includes Wonigi has had 23 cases, the highest number of confirmed cases in any ward. According to Hajiya Amina M Yahaya, the Director of Primary Healthcare for Bida Local Government Area, this is the first cholera outbreak in the town since 2008
Cholera is mostly spread through contact with faeces-contaminated water. Unhygienic practices like indiscriminate dumping of refuse and open defecation are prevalent in many areas in Nigeria and thus the chances of contact with contaminated water through drinking, cooking, using utensils or eating vegetables washed with contaminated water are high.
The Niger State Environmental Protection Agency (NISEPA) has been tasked with regulating and maintaining standard and healthy environmental practices in the state. According to the Agency’s Director General, Engr. Lucky Barau, the Agency has about 2000 staff and only 30 waste disposal trucks to serve the entire state. According to him, the town of Bida should have at least ten trucks to remove refuse but has to make do with only three! This works out as a ratio of one truck to 86,000 people, a grossly inadequate provision. Unless the Agency acquires additional trucks, Engr Barau says, the large refuse dumps in Bida and other towns in the state will remain. NISEPA collects only about 30% of the waste in the state; the remaining 70% are still out there in the communities, he said, adding that in 2016, Niger State Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello approved the purchase of more trucks, but the funds for those purchases are yet to be released.

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