What Can Pee And Poo Have With My breakfast? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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What Can Pee And Poo Have With My breakfast?

Posted: Nov 20, 2015 at 12:22 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

By Sandra Eguagie

Irrespective of our status in life, one common denominator conjoins us all. And that is the ability to digest our food and excrete the waste matter.  But the ability to separate the excreta from being digested directly or indirectly is what distinguishes each of us in relation to sanitation.A toilet is the most private place for man for passing out solid or liquid waste from the body and yet what is supposed to be deposited in the toilet is seen everywhere, especially households and communities where there are no toilets. And yet, no mature person wants to be seen defecating even in households and communities that lack toilets.

So, one question I would really love to ask is this:is there any significant relationship between food and excreta? Let me try and simplify this: should our foods be ready for consumption in the kitchen or anywhere in the house and the by-product be disposed in the toilet or around the house?The conscious effort by individuals obtaining food necessary for health and growth, separating feces from food, water and living environment, brings us to the focus of the theme of the 2015 World Toilet Day: toilets and nutrition.


More than 2.5billion people in the world today lack basic toilets and about a billion people practice open defecation. About one hundred and sixty-five millions of these people are stunted and are to be found mostly in countries like India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan, Indonesia, China etc.It is a common thing in most households in Nigeria to hear parents telling their children especially under the ages of five “don’t eat this shit”, “don’t touch this shit” when their children are defecating. This is probably because most households and communities do not have toilets. Therefore, there is the possibility that children will always be children by wanting to touch or taste excreta after defecating on the floor. There are quiet a number of children who consume a balanced diet but their bodies are unable to make full use of the nutrients because of inadequate hygiene and sanitation habits.  They often ingest excreta bypicking and eating up food items which fall on the feces and drinking contaminated water.

It requires a lot of energy to fight these infections and this implies fewer nutrients left for growth. Faecal-oral infection has led to different health related diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, leading to child death. Diarrhea accounts for 1 in 9 deaths worldwide making diarrhea the second-leading cause of death among children under the age of five.

Know that about 6.3million child deaths that occur each year especially from infectious diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia cost hundreds of billions of dollars in medical treatment. Children who suffer from diarrhea tend to eat less and are unable to absorb the full nutrients from their food. This often leads to malnutrition making them more vulnerable to diarrhea and to the exposed fecal material from their environment. Because of poor disposal of human and animal feces, water quality, sanitation, consumption pattern and the likes  that also affect the nutritional output of man and especially children.

The relationship between nutrition and diseases transmitted from contact with fecal matter and poor sanitation should not be taken for granted. This is because nutrition and sanitation cannot be complete without access to clean and improve water supply.Water plays an important role in our lives and this is because it oils the engine house of our bodies.

Government, individuals must make provisions for clean drinking water, if not for anything but for the protection of our health, and the sustainability of our environment. Doing this has the potential to improve the quality of lives of the world’s poorest economy and saves millions of lives by reducing the diseases related to exposure to unhygienic practices.

The simple act of separating feces (human or animal) from human contact and environment has a way of improving the nutritional status of man and also reduces diarrhea and other diseases. Mothers with children under 5years must maintain good toilet hygiene, clean drinking water source, good consumption pattern and have healthy attitudes to the environment. There must be a conscious effort to block all possible channels of excreta from water, food and the living environment. Hand washing after the use of toilet and at other critical times must be encouraged in the home as a habit that must be done especially for growing children. Also our meals must be covered to prevent flying and crawling insects from transferring germs from toilet and exposed excreta to the uncovered food and drinking water.

Government at all levels must resuscitate public water plants and river basins. Non- governmental water stakeholders can join government in reviving this sector. Politicians, celebrities, NGOs, businessmen and women, religious bodies and wealthy individuals should identify homes in their villages that do not have toilets and  help build good toilets for such homes.

Nigerians must understand that open defecation is everybody’s problem. If we are conscious of sanitation, 2.4million deaths worldwide would be prevented.We must adjust our behavior towards issues of toiletry and contact with our food for our own good.

Eguagie wrote in from Benin City.

Comments (1)

  • Nov 20, 2015 at 6:46 pm Moses2Ola_74Fam

    Sandra, this is perfect write up, but in some European countries not all of them have access to toilet, Go to some country like Spain you will see those that are living on the street defeacating openly with their dogs,the same thing goes to Romania. Nigerians problem is stubburness, we need iron rules before we can obey rule that can be of benefit to us.

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