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Lack of toilets putting public health at risk

Published by Tribune on Wed, 26 Nov 2014

A Consultant Public Health Physician, Dr Abdul-Hakeem Abiola, has said that lack of toilets was putting public health at risk.Abiola, who works at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on the World Toilet Day.NAN reported that the theme of 2014 World Toilet Day is: ``We can't wait.''Human faeces or human excreta is a source of infection and it is an important cause of environmental pollution.'Improper excreta management and disposal can cause soil pollution; it can cause water pollution; it can cause the contamination of foods and it can lead to propagation of flies, which can act as vectors for many diseases.'And diseases that can result from improper excreta disposal can be viral diseases, such as hepatitis, or poliomyelitis, some can be bacterial diseases such as cholera, typhoid and paratyphoid fever,' he said.Abiola said that improper excreta disposal also put the public at risk of parasitic and intestinal infections.'Now, these diseases are not onlya burden on the community in terms of sickness, mortality and low life expectation, but they are a basic deterrent to social and economic progress.'Therefore, proper disposal of human faeces and excreta is a fundamental environmental service, without which there cannot be any improvement in the state or the community.'Many of the diseases that we have in this part of the world are known as the faecal born disease; disease that we get as a result of contamination of some of the things that go into our mouths.'Faeces can contaminate the water we drink, and the food that we eat; then, it can lead to disease,' Dr Abiola said.Abiola said that if a person with cholera defecates and the faeces contaminates public water source, then people who drink the water would contract cholera.He said that excreta should be disposed through appropriate sanitary method.'The sanitary method states that proper excreta disposal must not pollute surface soil, or surface water, which refers to rivers and streams.'It must not pollute ground water which includes wells and boreholes; it must not be accessible to flies and animals like dogs which eat faeces.
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