In Commemoration of World Toilet Day; 6 in 10 Nigerians Still Practice Open Defecation – Report


Abuja, Nigeria. November 20th, 2019 – NOIPolls joins the world to commemorate the World Toilet Day (WTD) which was observed on the 19th of November, 2019. The aim of the annual event is to raise awareness of the crucial role that sanitation plays in reducing disease and creating healthier communities across the world. According to the  World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation, three billion lack basic handwashing facilities and 673 million still practise open defecation. This sanitation crisis means that untreated human waste is spreading diseases into water supplies and the food chain for billions of people hence, estimated to cause 432,000 diarrhoea deaths yearly. Nigeria is not an exception as the data report from UNICEF indicates that Nigeria has been ranked second among countries practising open defecation globally.

Against this background, NOIPolls in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) conducted a  public opinion poll on access to sanitation facilities in Nigeria. The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control is the country’s national public health institute, with the mandate to lead the preparedness, detection and response to infectious disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. The aim of NCDC is to protect the health of Nigerians through evidence-based prevention, integrated disease surveillance and response activities, using a one health approach,  guided by research and led by a skilled workforce.

The poll highlighted the perceptions of Nigerians regarding access to sanitation facilities, prevalence and practice of open defecation as well as suggestions on how the issue can be addressed. The poll revealed that most Nigerians (76  percent) acknowledged that access to sanitation facility is a challenge. When asked of the sanitation facility respondents use, majority of the respondents (83 percent) mentioned private toilet connected to the private septic tank,  14 percent said pit latrine and 2 percent stated open defecation amongst other facilities.

In terms of prevalence, 80 of Nigerians believe that the issue of open defecation is prevalent across the country.  With regards to practice, sadly, 63 percent of Nigerians disclosed that they have seen people practising open defecation in their respective locality and of this proportion, 52 percent stated that they always see people practising open defecation in their locality. More findings showed that Nigerians are aware of the dangers associated with open defecation as mentioned by 82 percent of the respondents and the top three dangers cited are diarrhoea (40 percent),  typhoid (22 percent) and cholera (13 percent).

To effectively tackle this awful culture, there should be a concerted effort to provide toilets in public places as recommended by 40 percent of Nigerians so that people would not have recourse to relieving themselves in the open. Government agencies, town planners and other stakeholders responsible for the environment should ensure that toilets are mandated for every household when putting up a structure as suggested by 28 percent of Nigerians.

These are the key findings from the Access to Sanitation Facility Poll conducted by NOIPolls in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in the week commencing November 4th, 2019.

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World Toilet Day is an annual campaign that seeks to draw the attention of the world to the challenges of

sanitation experienced by people globally. It is also a day which seeks to inspire the world to tackle the global sanitation crisis and to also help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which promises sanitation for all by the year 2030. The theme for this year is Leaving no one behind which is a deliberate step in the right direction to ensure that no one is left behind in the sanitation issues that affect a large proportion of the world’s population.  More so, according to statistics, there is an estimated 4.2 billion people living without safely managed sanitation and about 673 million people around the world practise open defecation.

In Nigeria, more than 70,000 children under five years die from diarrhoea disease as a result of unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation condition every year. Also, about 47 million Nigerians practise open defecation according to previous statistics obtained. With regards to these alarming figures, the federal government declared a state of emergency in water, sanitation and hygiene in November 2018 in a bid to reverse the trend. This was swiftly  followed by the launching of a national campaign – clean Nigeria: use the toilet, which was launched in April 2019.5 In  view of this escalating and mind-boggling statistics, and in commemoration of the day, NOIPolls in collaboration with  Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) conducted a poll to gauge the opinion of Nigerians regarding access to  sanitation facilities and open defecation in the country.