About one in three households in Nigeria consume contaminated water, a survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed.

The survey was carried out in 2016/2017 by the NBS in collaboration with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) and the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) as part of the global Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) programme.

The survey, which is the fifth round of the MICS series, shows that Escherichia coli, also known as E.coli, is a major substance found in water consumed by Nigerians without access to safely-managed drinking water.

E. coli is the name of a type of bacteria that lives in intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make people sick and cause diarrhoea. One type causes travellers’ diarrhoea. The worst type causes bloody diarrhoea, and can sometimes cause kidney failure and even death.

The survey estimated the population using safely managed drinking water sources as 58.5 per cent in 2011, 57.8 per cent in 2012, 62.2 per cent in 2014 and 69.6 percent in 2015.

However, between 2016 and 2017, about 64.1 per cent of Nigerians had access to improved drinking water, indicating a decline from 2015 among Nigerians that had access to safely managed drinking water.

According to the survey, North-East states lag behind with 52.4 per cent, while South-West states top the chart with 87.3 per cent of its residents having access to improved water sources.

In her reaction to the report, Maureen Zubie-Okolo, a Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist with the United Nation’s Children Emergency Funds, UNICEF, expressed worries over water and sanitation situation in the country.

She said it was a known fact that water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea are some of the major causes of hospital admissions, especially in under-five children.

She however, called for more advocacy to government to make policies that would increase access to improved water sources and sanitation, which will also help to reduce preventable diseases.

MICS is a globally recognised and definitive source of information for assessing the situation of children and women in the areas of health, nutrition; water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH), education, protection, and HIV & AIDS, amongst others.

The findings of the survey are used for planning, monitoring and decision making on programmes and policies to address issues related to the well-being of children and women.

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