Nigeria: World Water Day – Six common waterborne diseases and how to prevent them

More than a century after the founding of Nigeria, drinking water remains hard-to-find “gold” in many parts of the country, especially in rural areas.

Today, March 22, World Water Day highlights the magnitude of the water crisis in the world and in Nigeria in particular. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 1.42 billion people – including 450 million children – live in areas with high or extremely high water vulnerability.

This means that one in five children in the world does not have enough water to meet their daily needs.

Even more worryingly in Nigeria, 26.5 million Nigerian children experience high or extremely high vulnerability to water – or 29% of Nigerian children. Invariably, a third of Nigerian children do not have enough water to meet their daily needs.

“The global water crisis is not happening – it is here, and children are its greatest victims,” ​​UNICEF Nigeria Representative Peter Hawkins said on the sidelines of World Water Day. year’s water.

“When wells dry up, it’s children who miss school to fetch water. When droughts cut food supplies, children suffer from malnutrition and stunting. When floods hit, children are getting sick from water-borne diseases. And when water is not available in Nigerian communities, children cannot wash their hands to fight the diseases,” Hawkins added.

Every year, waterborne diseases afflict millions of people, especially those who live without safe and accessible water in developing countries. In this regard, Daily Trust sheds light on six common waterborne diseases in Nigeria and how to prevent them.


Diarrhea is the second leading cause of death in children under five, causing more child deaths than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. This can be avoided with good hygiene and the use of clean water.


Cholera is commonly found in villages and suburbs where poverty and poor sanitation are rampant. It spreads through contaminated water and causes severe dehydration and diarrhea. Cholera can be fatal within days or even hours of exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms of cholera include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and muscle cramps. However, it can be avoided by washing your hands regularly, eating well-cooked food, drinking clean water, among others.

Typhoid fever

Although rare in developed countries, typhoid fever is well known in extremely poor areas of developing countries. According to, it is estimated that up to 20 million people worldwide suffer from the disease each year. It is spread through contaminated food, unsafe water and poor sanitation, and it is highly contagious.

Typhoid is a fever that increases muscle pain, causes fatigue, sweating, diarrhea or constipation. It can be prevented by avoiding drinking dirty water and eating exposed food.


Dysentery is a waterborne disease that manifests as severe diarrhea with blood or mucus in the stool. Dysentery, which is transmitted by poor hygiene, can be prevented by regular hand washing. Its symptoms include stomach cramps and pain, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a liver infection caused by consuming contaminated food and water or by close contact with an infected person. Some of its symptoms include fatigue, clay-colored stools, jaundice, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and sudden fever.

Although the infection usually clears up within a few weeks, it can get worse and last for several months if left untreated. Eating foods that are well cooked and served hot can help prevent hepatitis A.

dengue fever

Dengue fever is a common disease that can be contracted through water. It is spread by female “tiger” mosquitoes (of the genus Aedes) that breed in water. Therefore, the disease is rampant in areas with stagnant or dirty water. Proper and regular cleaning of the surroundings will deter mosquitoes. Using mosquito repellents and sleeping under impregnated mosquito nets are also ways to prevent dengue fever.

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