Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental human right, yet it remains a significant challenge for many Nigerians, particularly those living in rural areas. The repercussions of inadequate water supply are far-reaching, affecting the health and well-being of communities, with women and children bearing the brunt of the consequences. This article delves into the critical issue of safe drinking water in Nigeria, specifically focusing on women, and proposes a solution through innovative technology.
The Current Water Crisis in Nigeria:
Approximately 60% of Nigeria’s population resides in rural areas, where access to safe drinking water is severely limited. Despite a 64.1% increase in water supply provision in urban areas in 2016, 77.9% of the population still needs access to safe drinking water. Microbial contamination during water transportation from source to point of use is a significant factor in this crisis.
Most Nigerians, especially in rural areas, rely on surface water sources such as rivers, lakes, wetlands, and oceans. Unfortunately, these sources are often contaminated with pollutants, jeopardizing the health of those who depend on them. In these communities, women and girls spend over four hours a day fetching water from these contaminated sources, diverting time and energy that could be allocated to more productive activities.
Challenges in Water Purification:
The available options for water purification, such as boiling, face significant challenges. Boiling water is laborious, time-consuming, and does not remove turbidity or dirt. Moreover, it requires fuel, contributing to environmental degradation. In energy-scarce situations, kerosene burners are commonly used, exposing women to harmful fumes leading to severe health consequences.
As primary caretakers and household managers, women in Nigeria are disproportionately affected by the current water crisis. Collecting water and ensuring its safety falls mainly on their shoulders, impacting their health and well-being. The indirect health implications of respiratory issues resulting from using kerosene burners add to the complexity of the problem.
Health Implications and Disproportionate Impact on Women:
Unsafe drinking water exposes individuals to waterborne diseases, with cholera a prominent threat. Cholera outbreaks, exacerbated by climate change, have become recurrent in Nigeria. Women and young girls are particularly vulnerable to infections, while older women bear a disproportionate burden of caregiving responsibilities in the aftermath of such epidemics.
Additionally, the reliance on unsafe water in health centers further compounds patient health risks. The need for patients to source their drinking water before taking medicine underscores the urgent need for comprehensive solutions to ensure safe water access in healthcare settings.
Addressing the Issue: LifeStraw Technology:
An innovative and tested technology is essential to improve Nigeria’s health index and empower women in the realm of safe drinking water. LifeStraw, a water filtration technology, has received endorsements from reputable organizations such as the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Water Resources, the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
LifeStraw offers an instant and effective solution to remove microbial contaminants, making it a viable option for improving water quality in Nigerian communities. By providing a reliable and portable means of purifying water, this technology can alleviate the burden on women, enhance community health, and significantly reduce waterborne diseases.
Access to safe drinking water is a critical determinant of public health, and addressing this issue is paramount for improving Nigeria’s health index. Women, as primary stakeholders in water-related activities, bear a disproportionate burden and are disproportionately affected by the consequences of unsafe water. Implementing innovative technologies can play a pivotal role in transforming the landscape of water accessibility in Nigeria, ensuring a healthier future for all, and focusing on the well-being of women and children. It is imperative for stakeholders, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, and the private sector, to collaborate in implementing sustainable solutions that prioritize safe drinking water access for every Nigerian citizen.
The Nigerian Federal Minister of Health’s Keynote Address at the LifeStraw Launch in Abuja (2018) https://environbuzz.com/the-nigerian-federal-minister-of-healths-keynote-speech-at-the-lifestraw-launch-in-abuja/Retrieved Dec 15, 2023 from https://environbuzz.com/the-nigerian-federal-minister-of-healths-keynote-speech-at-the-lifestraw-launch-in-abuja/
How the energy crisis is reversing gender equality. (2023) Retrieved Dec 15, 2023 from https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/58938/how-the-energy-crisis-is-reversing-gender-equality/#:~:text=Cooking%20with%20open%20stoves%20that,victims%20are%20women%20and%20children.
Safe Drinking Water Project Retrieved Dec 15, 2023 from https://environbuzz.com/category/people-community/safe-drinking-water-project/
The Safe Drinking Water Project, A Social Responsibility. (2019) Retrieved Dec 15, 2023 from https://environbuzz.com/thesafedrinkingwaterprojectasocialresponsibility/
The Dangers Of Contaminated Drinking-Water To Public Health (2023) Retrieved Dec 15, 2023 from https://naturenews.africa/news-feature-the-dangers-of-contaminated-drinking-water-to-public-health/
Global Issues: Water Retrieved Dec 15, 2023 from https://www.un.org/en/global-issues/water
- Strategies to Navigate Resource Constraints in the Manufacturing Industry - February 24, 2024
- Navigating Resource Constraints to a Pathway to Sustainable Practices for Manufacturers | Part 1 - February 16, 2024
- Balancing Act: Recognizing Manufacturers for Sustainability Efforts While Mitigating Reputation Damage - February 9, 2024