Drinking Water in Nigeria: A Public Health Threat and Burden

Type Report
Title Drinking Water in Nigeria: A Public Health Threat and Burden
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
URL http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539953.pdf
The problems with drinking water encountered in underdeveloped countries are not new or unique.
Governments that are unable to provide safe drinking water and other basic, fundamental public services
are likely to experience outbreaks of infectious disease. Poverty is also a contributing factor to increased
incidence of infectious disease among the population. All of these conditions can be mitigated with the
efforts from the United States and the international community. Nigeria is a country suffering from the
crippling burden of disease resulting from unsafe drinking water. The prevalent diseases of unsafe
drinking water in Nigeria include cholera, guinea worm, hepatitis, and shigellosis. Additionally, the
country is dealing with security issues and instability from religious squabbles between Muslims in the
northern region of Nigeria and Christians in the southern region. The economic, political, social, and
health-related problems faced by the population of Nigeria require intervention from the government of
Nigeria as well as foreign stakeholders. United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) has the capability to
influence and shape the continent of Africa, and Nigeria should be near top of the list of countries
demanding priority. The US has vital national security interests in Nigeria that include petroleum
products, counterterrorism, and ensure governmental stability that sets the example for other African
nations. The mission of AFRICOM provides the mechanism and funding for appropriate action to mitigate
the disease burden from unsafe drinking water in Nigeria. Based on the problems plaguing Nigeria, it is
recommended that AFRICOM take the following intervention steps: develop educational training
programs addressing waterborne diseases, work closely with the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria to provide direct
support to the Nigerian government and military, and Mitigate unsafe drinking water and waterborne
disease in Nigeria by working closely with inter-agencies, international organizations, and
non-governmental organizations (NGO). viii

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