Category Archives: Progress on Sanitation

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria

The Consequences of Deteriorating Sanitation in Nigeria | Source: Council on Foreign Relations Blog, July 23, 2015 |

This is a guest post by Anna Bezruki, an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Global Health Program. She studies biology at Bryn Mawr College.

According to the final report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) released earlier this month, more than a third of the world population (2.4 billion) is still without improved sanitation.

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

Children play at a slum in Ijegun Egba, a suburb of Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos, July 2, 2008. (Courtesy Reuters/George Esiri)

The target to halve the global population without adequate toilets by 2015 has not been reached. Consequently, sanitation has been pushed on to the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Although India is perhaps the most widely cited failure, accounting for roughly half of open defecation worldwide, it is at least making progress toward the SDG target. The same cannot be said for Nigeria. Lacking the political infrastructure to reform sanitation and faced with security and political concerns that overshadow development goals, Nigeria is struggling to reverse the trend.

Unlike in India, where the percentage of people with access to a toilet shared by only one family increased by eighteen points between 1990 and 2012, that percentage declined in Nigeria from 37 to 28 percent.

This incongruity is best illustrated by the fact that there are more than three times as many cell phones in Nigeria as people who have access to adequate toilets. This means thirty-nine million defecate outside, sixteen million more today than in 1990.

Poor sanitation contributes to diarrheal diseases and malnutrition through fecal contamination of food and water. One gram of feces can contain one hundred parasite eggs, one million bacteria, and ten million viruses.

Diarrheal diseases kill approximately 121,800 Nigerians, including 87,100 children under the age of five each year. Eighty-eight percent of those deaths are attributed to poor sanitation. Poor sanitation is thought to strain the immune system to the point that permanent stunting and other manifestations of malnutrition can result.

More than 40 percent of Nigerian children under the age of five are stunted, and malnutrition is the underlying cause of death in more than 50 percent of the approximately 804,000 deaths annually in the same age range.

The impact of inadequate toilets goes beyond hazardous exposure to feces. A survey conducted by WaterAid, a nonprofit organization focusing on providing safe water and sanitation access, in a Lagos slum revealed that the 69 percent of women and girls without access to toilets are at higher risk of verbal and physical harassment when they relieve themselves.

The effects of poor sanitation are also costing Nigeria economically. The Nigerian Water and Sanitation Program estimates that poor sanitation costs the country at least three billion U.S. dollars each year in lost productivity and health care expenditures.

While estimates vary, in 2011, Nigeria invested approximately $550 million, less than 0.1 percent of GDP, on sanitation, a number which has likely decreased since then. This is less than a quarter of the approximately $2.3 billion annually that would have been necessary to meet the MDG target.

It will take more than money and infrastructure to fix Nigeria’s sanitation. Even if investments were to sufficiently rise, the lack of a single government entity with complete responsibility for sanitation within the government, as well as widespread corruption and a lack of community support, would likely hamper efforts.

Providing latrines without first creating demand within the community has failed repeatedly, including in India, where latrines have been repurposed for extra storage. There are also other problems, like a treasury emptied by corruption and the war on Boko Haram, that top President Buhari’s agenda.

While these are immediate threats that require intense focus, sanitation is an essential long-term investment that will help Nigeria grow.  

UNICEF/WHO: Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water – 2015 update and MDG assessment.

Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water – 2015 update and MDG assessment. UNICEF/WHO.

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 30 June 2015 – Lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water, warn WHO and UNICEF in a report tracking access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals. JMP-Update-report-2015_English

The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment, says worldwide, 1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open. “What the data really show is the need to focus on inequalities as the only way to achieve sustainable progress,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

“The global model so far has been that the wealthiest move ahead first, and only when they have access do the poorest start catching up. If we are to reach universal access to sanitation by 2030, we need to ensure the poorest start making progress right away.”

Access to improved drinking water sources has been a major achievement for countries and the international community. With some 2.6 billion people having gained access since 1990, 91 per cent of the global population now have improved drinking water – and the number is still growing. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 427 million people have gained access – an average of 47,000 people per day every day for 25 years. The child survival gains have been substantial. Today, fewer than 1,000 children under five die each day from diarrhoea caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, compared to over 2,000 15 years ago.

On the other hand, the progress on sanitation has been hampered by inadequate investments in behaviour change campaigns, lack of affordable products for the poor, and social norms which accept or even encourage open defecation. Although some 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, the world has missed the MDG target by nearly 700 million people. Today, only 68 per cent of the world’s population uses an improved sanitation facility – 9 percentage points below the MDG target of 77 per cent.

Clean India Mission #SwacchBharat publishes new uniform definition of ODF

 

Swachh Bharat  website photo

The most important objective of the Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission is to end open defecation forever in all  villages by 2 October 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. But how can you monitor progress without an agreed indicator for an Open Defecation Free (ODF)  status?

Now, by issuing a  uniform definition of Open Defecation Free (ODF), the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, which runs Swachh Bharat, hopes to resolve the current unclarity.

In a letter dated 9 June 2015, addressed to all state secretaries of rural sanitation, the Ministry provides the following definition:

ODF is the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by a) no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and b) every household as well as public/community institutions using [a]  safe technology option for disposal of faeces.

{A] safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, ground water or surface water; excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.

Read the full letter.

Source: PTI, Times of India, 14 Jun 2015

 

WHO Bulletin – Redefining shared sanitation

Redefining shared sanitation. WHO Bulletin, April 2015.

Authors: Thilde Rheinländer, Flemming Konradsen, Bernard Keraita, Patrick Apoya & Margaret Gyapong

Current definitions do not account for the diversity of shared sanitation: all shared toilet facilities are by default classified as unimproved by JMP because of the tendency for shared toilets to be unmanaged and unhygienic. However, we argue that shared sanitation should not be automatically assumed to be unimproved. We also argue that it is necessary to have a new look at how we define shared sanitation and use specific sub-categories including household shared (sharing between a limited number of households who know each other), public toilets (intended for a transient population, but most often the main sanitation facility for poor neighbourhoods) and institutional toilets (workplaces, markets etc.).

This sub-classification will identify those depending on household shared sanitation, which we consider to be only a small step away from achieving access to private and improved sanitation. This sub-category of shared sanitation is, therefore, worth discussing in greater detail. Experiences from Ghana and other sub-Saharan African countries illustrate how household shared sanitation may well fit with culturally acceptable sanitation choices and not necessarily be unhygienic. Indeed, household shared sanitation may be the only realistic option that brings people the important first step up the sanitation ladder from open defecation to a basic level of sanitation.

India sanitation initiative wins prestigious UN prize

Training women in Nadia District, Sabar Shouchagar programme

Training women in Nadia District,. Photo credit: Sabar Shouchagar programme

The UN has awarded one of their prestigious 2015 Public Service Awards to Nadia district in West Bengal for their sanitation initiative Sabar Shouchagar (Toilets for All).

Bordering on Bangladesh,  the rural district has a population of 5.4 million of whom nearly 2 million or 40% practised open defecation in 2013.  This was in sharp contrast with neighbouring Bangladesh, where only 4% of the people practise open defecation. This realisation sparked the district to start pooling available government resources and develop the Sabar Shouchar concept.

Besides pooling government funds, the concept involved mass awareness campaigns, parternships with NGOs, focus on women and children as change agents, rural sanitation marts, transforming district administration and a 10% mandatory user contribution to cost of toilet construction.

All this resulted in Nadia becoming the first Indian district to be declared open defecation free on 30 April 2015.

2015 UNPSA Banner10

Nadia district will receive its award from the United Nations Secretary-General on 23 June 2015 in Medellin, Colombia.

For more information go to: sabarshouchagar.in

Source: Indian Express, 8 May 2015

USAID Sanitation Webinar

USAID Sanitation Webinar, April 28, 2015

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation worldwide. In this webinar, USAID’s Jesse Shapiro discusses and responds to participant questions about the impacts of sanitation; critical challenges to improving sanitation; the sanitation ladder and service chain; and programmatic interventions to improve sanitation.

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)

Issue 181| March 6, 2015 | Community-Led Total Sanitation

This issue focuses on recent CLTS studies, reports, blog posts, and videos. Included is a new issue of Frontiers of CLTS on sustainability; reports on the health impacts of open defecation; videos and reports on CLTS programs in Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, and Kenya; and other studies/resources.

JUST PUBLISHED

Sustainability and CLTS: Taking Stock. Frontiers of CLTS: Innovations and Insights, Issue 4, Feb 2015. S Cavill. Link clts
There are multiple and complex challenges associated with achieving sustainability. Habits are hard to break and so sustainability of behavior change continues to be a major preoccupation. The CLTS and WASH communities need to continue to share learning and insights and to draw practical conclusions that lead to better practice. Action learning that is grounded in field realities, open-mindedness, mutual respect, and sharing is the way forward. The accessibility of the four evaluations in the opening pages of Frontiers sets a good precedent.

Other issues covered in this series of Frontiers of CLTS are: Issue 1: Participatory Design Development for Sanitation | Issue 2: How to Trigger for Handwashing with Soap | Issue 3: Disability—Making CLTS Fully Inclusive |

UPCOMING EVENTS

Webinar on Participatory Design Development for Sanitation – March 26, 2015, 6–8 a.m. EDT. Link
Ben Cole will be discussing his experiences in applying participatory design to accompany and extend Malawi’s national CLTS program since 2012.  Participatory design is a natural extension to the processes applied in CLTS programs. Mr. Cole’s work in three rural districts of Malawi demonstrates the immense potential that participatory design can offer to CLTS programming. It offers a low-cost engagement tool that can support traditional follow-up approaches to CLTS programming.

2015 STUDIES/RESOURCES

Talking Shit: Is Community-Led Total Sanitation a Radical and Revolutionary Approach to Sanitation? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, Jan/Feb 2015. M Galvin.Link
In contrast to past approaches, one of CLTS’s main tenets is strictly no subsidies of finance or materials. In the absence of monitoring and evaluation systems, it is not clear whether its immediate achievements are sustainable. In addition to questioning its sustainability, it is essential to examine CLTS through the analytical lens of power dynamics and human rights.

Lessons from Pakistan’s Approach to Total Sanitation. CLTS Blog, Feb 2015. J Myers, CLTS Knowledge Hub. Link
Pakistan represents an excellent example of adaptations being made to the traditional CLTS process due to local conditions. It is due to conducting CLTS in areas recovering from the 2010 floods that some of these adaptations have been made.

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