With the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fast approaching, new reports suggest Nigeria has MDG uncertainty, meaning they are unlikely to meet some of the goals.

“Nigeria will miss the Water and Sanitation MDG targets and this is likely to affect other MDG targets,” Saaondo Anon, a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene specialist, said.

The country is lacking in water and sanitation services as well as housing units for its millions of residents.

Poor investments in water and sanitation infrastructure throughout the previous years may be to blame. Officials believe continuous population growth in both rural and urban areas coinciding with a lack of strategic planning to be part of the problem.

In the country, 18 percent of childhood deaths under the age of five are a result of diarrhea. One gram of diarrhea can consist of millions of viruses, one million bacteria and scores of parasite cysts and eggs.

Nigeria is also one of 10 countries home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s inhabitants, and these populations that lack access to adequate water sources.

According to UNICEF Specialist Amos Kudzala, access to legitimate water sources and childhood education are inherently connected.

“Water is intimately linked with education and gender equality. Girls who have to spend time gathering water for the family tend not to be in school. And where schools have sanitation, attendance is higher, especially for girls.”

Apart from its water and sanitation shortcomings, Nigeria has also been subject to housing shortfalls for millions of its citizens.

Because so many of Nigeria’s residents cannot afford housing without government subsidies, home ownership in the country is not especially strong. However, the government is no longer involved in home construction. Private real estate developers now primarily control the market.

One solution for government intervention in the housing market could come from the development of a National Construction Cost Database. The database would help standardize the costs and prices of homes.

Joint estimates among the World Health Organization and UNICEF acknowledge that more than one-third of the world’s population, or nearly 2.5 billion people, does not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. Additionally, 768 million people continue to consume water from inadequate, unsafe water sources.

– Ethan Safran

Sources: All Africa 1, All Africa 2, The Guardian
Photo: Flickr