AD389: Nigerian government doing a poor job on water/sanitation and health care, citizens say

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Raphael Mbaegbu and Chukwudebe Nwanze

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened problems that were already bedeviling Nigeria’s health system, including run-down or inadequate medical equipment, underpaid and unmotivated medical staff, and unequal access to health care (Andolu Agency, 2020; Pulse Nigeria, 2020). The World Health Organization has labeled Nigeria a human resources for health (HRH) crisis country (Global Health Workforce Alliance, 2020).

The pandemic has also highlighted citizens’ inadequate access to water and sanitation facilities. Nigeria has pledged its commitment to meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which is to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all” by 2030. But the National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS) on the socio-economic effects of COVID-19 shows that many households in Nigeria do not have sufficient access to soap and water for handwashing and that there is low adherence to hygiene protocols (National Bureau of Statistics, 2020; Premium Times, 2020).

The most recent Afrobarometer survey in Nigeria, conducted in early 2020, shows that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, majorities of citizens reported going without needed medical care and clean water at least once during the previous year. Nigerians give the government low marks for its performance in providing water and sanitation services and improving basic health services.