Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


UN calls for end to open defecation amid Ebola threat

19 November 2014, 13:20

Geneva - The UN called Wednesday for an end to defecation in the open, with fears growing that it has helped spread the deadly Ebola virus ravaging west Africa.

Half the population of Liberia, the country worst hit by the epidemic, have no access to toilets, while in Sierra Leone nearly a third of people live without latrines, a new UN report to coincide with World Toilet Day estimated.

Before it was declared Ebola-free last month, Nigeria warned against defecating in the open to guard against the virus, which spreads through contact with bodily fluids.

The report said nearly a billion people worldwide are forced to go to the toilet in the open.

But the health risks of the practice are not confined to Ebola.

In sub-Saharan Africa, where the UN said a quarter of the population defecate outside, diarrhoea is the third biggest killer of children under five years old.

Studies estimate that a child dies every 2.5 minutes because of unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene, the report said.

Women suffer most from the lack of facilities, with girls often denied schooling because of a lack of toilets, said UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.

Read also: Uganda's population increases by over 10 million since last census

"Girls are more likely to drop out of school if they don't have access to a safe and clean toilet. Women and girls can also risk harassment and sexual abuse when trying to find somewhere to defecate in the open. Universal access to sanitation has a clear role to play in defending women's safety, dignity and equality," he said.

Progress had been made, but a lack of money continued to hinder progress, with the 80 percent of open defecation confined to 10 countries.

Nearly half the world total for those who have no access to toilets are in India, followed in Asia by Indonesia, Pakistan, Nepal and China.

In Africa, 39 million people do not have toilets in Nigeria, with high rates also in Ethiopia, Sudan, Niger and Mozambique.

Eliasson said that "success at ending open defecation goes beyond infrastructure. It requires the understanding of behaviours, cultural attitudes and social norms."

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page! 


Tags ebola

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Types of men that are a waste of ...

Most women end up heartbroken because they were trying to convince the wrong man to be in a relationship/ marriage. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Cheating is hardwork!

Cheating, although enjoyable by the person doing it initially, it gets to a point they start realizing that it was never even worth it. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Dating that one person that socie...

Works at a massage parlour. Works at Millionaires Club (that one on Baricho road) - you know the ones I am talking about. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
What do men mean when they say th...

As much as men think they are the ones confused by relationships, they have a better idea of it than most women actually do. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM rebels sweat in Kisii as Oran...

ODM rebels are sweating in Kisii after the Orange Party won by elections despite concerted efforts by the ruling Jubilee Party to win the elections. Read more...