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Household Sanitation Practices Relation to Covid-19 Pandemic in South-West Nigeria



Household Sanitation Practices Relation to Covid-19 Pandemic in South-West Nigeria


Household Sanitation Practice in Relation to Covid-19 Pandemic in South-West Nigeria


This paper examined household sanitation practices during COVID-19 pandemic in South-West Nigeria with a view to suggesting policy responses in furtherance of a sustainable environmental health practices in the study area and others with similar background in Africa. Two states (Lagos and Oyo) were selected for questionnaire administration and 173 residents were selected for survey. The result revealed that respondents of both states share similar socioeconomic characteristics. Also, information from the study revealed that wearing of face masks, obedience to social distancing guidelines and use of hand sanitizers were the most practiced preventive measure to curtail the spread of COVID-19 while hand washing with soap and water was the least practiced measure against the spread of the disease.

The study established that 60% of the respondents had water supply in their homes while 75.0% had toilets in their house. Across the study area, the mean travel distance to sources of water by respondents was 143metres while the average per capita water consumption in Lagos and Oyo states were 14.6 litres, and 11.8litres. Findings also established that respondents generated more waste during the pandemic however; waste practices were environmentally unfriendly thus predisposing them to the infestation of diseases vectors aside from the COVID-19 virus. It recommends that the government should investment in policies aimed towards adequate provision of water and waste disposal facilities at neighbourhood levels. Also, the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community based organization (CBOs) should embark on environmental health awareness campaigns on inherent dangers associated poor sanitation practices in the study area.


  1. Introduction

Access to improved household sanitation and the prevention of many diseases across the world (WaterAid, 2019). Over the years, issues pertaining to sanitation have become a glaring challenge in most urban centres in Nigeria (Daramola, Olowoporoku & Popoola, 2017). This can be attributed to inadequacy of environmental amenities, poor sanitary behaviour, population growth among others (Olowoporoku, 2017; Owoeye & Adedeji, 2013; Olanrewaju & Ilemobade, 2009). According to World Health Organization (WHO) (2020), sanitation is a group of methods to collect human excreta and urine as well as community waste waters in a hygienic way such that human and community health is not altered. It aims to decrease the spread of diseases by adequate elimination of excreta and other wastes from sight and proper handling of water and food in order to restrict the spread of disease (WaterAID, 2020; World Bank 2020; Olowoporoku, 2014).

Waste generation and disposal are among the pressing public health issues in Africa. Wastes are useless by-product of human activities which physically contains the same substance that is available in the useful product (Amasuomo & Baird, 2016; Achor, Ehikwe & Nwafor, 2014). It is broadly classified into three types based on its physical attributes. These are liquid, solid and gaseous waste. At the household level, the most common type of waste generated is solid and liquid wastes. Household generation of waste has been intricately correlated with changing lifestyle, consumption pattern, population growth, civilization and urbanization among others (Afon, 2012; Momodu, Dimuna & Dimuna, 2011; Awoso, Taiwo, Gladebo & Arimoro, 2010). On the other hand, waste disposal is defined as the methods of discarding any product or material which is useless to the producer (Amasuomo & Baird, 2016). Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, neighbourhoods in Nigerian have been grappling with mounting heaps of indiscriminately disposed wastes.

Nigeria a densely populated country with low healthcare infrastructure and multiple pre-existing fragilities is currently battling to manage the pandemic (Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, 2020). Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nigerian governments and all other concerned stakeholders have made various efforts to flatten the curve of the spread of the disease (Mustapha, Adedokun & Abdullahi, 2020; Olanrewaju & Olowoporoku, 2020). Efforts made by the government to manage the spread of this disease include population disaggregation with stay at home orders, closure of learning institutions, restrictions/ban on public gatherings, public awareness for the promotion of proper sanitation habits, social distancing etc. (Bassey & Akaninyene, 2020; Ozili, 2020). These actions popularly known as the lockdown in the country has led to change in household waste generation, disposal and sanitation behaviour. For instance, the types, components, volume and characteristics of wastes changed as household members were compelled to stay and perform their daily activities from homes (United Nations, 2020). This change has significantly influenced the management of wastes at both household and communal levels.

Sanitation and waste disposal preferences during COVID-19 are different from the conventional practices (World Bank, 2020). This is because people generate more waste of different components because of their stay at home. The impact of poor and sanitation during pandemics is particularly felt in the urban areas in Nigeria because people live in proximity to each other. A cursory glance at the city scape during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals that a huge volume of wastes are generated daily without adequate form of management. This provokes strong concerns in order to protect the environment and the population from the transfer of the virus and outbreak of other diseases. This deplorable and dehumanizing conditions of physical environment calls for sober reflections as the coverage of government and private sector efforts to provide these services have remained insufficient (Olowoporoku, 2017; Achor, Ehikwe & Nwafor, 2014).

Therefore, perceived and actual inadequacies in terms of access to environmental amenities during COVID-19 could lead to dissatisfaction with sanitation options which invariably have negative impacts on   peoples’   health   and   environmental

A meticulous examination of the sanitation practices Nigerian cities indicates that sanitation has remained consistently poor for a long time. Studies such as Anijah-obi et al (201) and Olowoporoku (2017) have established that inadequacy of basic sanitation increases the cost of treating and prevention of diseases. For instance, poor disposal of waste in urban centres leads to intrusion, offensive stench or odour and serves as breeding ground for disease pathogens (WHO, 2004; Federal Ministry of Environment, 2005). Therefore, policies to improve waste disposal and sanitation practices during and after pandemics will uplift the living condition, health of residents, quality and aesthetic of the environment and prevents outbreak of other diseases (Achor, Ehikwe & Nwafor, 2014; Owoeye, 2013). Therefore, adherence to safe sanitation practices will to help to prevent human-to-human transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and other diseases (WHO, 2020a).

Issues pertaining to sanitation practices and waste disposal have aroused the interest of researchers in Nigeria (Olanrewaju & Ilemobade, 2009; Afon, 2012; Owoeye & Adedeji, 2013; Achor, Ehikwe & Nwafor, 2014; Olowoporoku, 2014; Olowoporoku, 2017; Daramola, Olowoporoku & Popoola, 2017). However, they have only focused on the various aspects of sanitation and waste disposal before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, hence the peculiarity of a composition, types and volume of waste generated and disposed and sanitation practices during pandemics were not considered. Other studies that have issues bothering on COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria include (Bassey & Akaninyene, 2020; Mustapha, Adedokun & Abdullahi, 2020; Ozili, 2020; Olanrewaju & Olowoporoku, 2020). These studies focused on national capacity to respond and economic implication of thebpandemic on the nation. They did not extensively discuss sanitation practices, quantity of waste and disposal methods with respect to the pandemic. Also, the availability waste and sanitation facilities were not considered. The intent of this study is therefore to examine household sanitation practices and waste disposal during COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria. This type of study is imperative as it will examine the socioeconomic attribute of citizens, elucidate the environmental challenges confronting them during the pandemic and proffer solutions to their management.

1.2       Statement of the problem

The year 2020 will be remembered as the “Quarantine year,” the year millions of people around the world had to remain indoors for several months, with over 700 thousand people dead as a result of Covid-19.

Covid-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus strain that was first reported in Wuhan, China. Since then it has spread to all corners of the world with only a handful of countries having no Covid-19 case. Nigeria confirmed its first Covid-19 case on the 27th of February, 2020 [NCDC]. Since then the number of cases has grown to over 50,000 confirmed cases and over 1,000 deaths [NCDC].

Covid-19 is communicable and preventive measures outlined by the World Health Organization include wearing a face mask, maintaining social distance and washing hands regularly.

It is therefore imperative for people around the world to have access to clean water. Water is not only a basic human need but can save a life in these circumstances.

Although water covers 71% of the earth’s surface, a large percentage of the water is salty seawater or trapped in glaciers or underground, leaving only 0.3% usable by man. With an estimate of 785 million people around the world lacking access to clean water. It is no wonder then that clean water and sanitation is among the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6).

1.3       Purpose and objectives of the study

Various perceptions and practices have been associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we assessed the perception and practices regarding COVID-19 among residents in selected urban communities of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

1.4       Research Questions

  • What happens to people who get COVID-19?
  • How can we protect others and ourselves if we don’t know who is infected?
  • I want to find out if I had COVID-19 in the past, what test could I take?
  • What should I do if I have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19?
  • Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating COVID-19?
  • What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms?
  • What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

As COVID-19 rages on, Pathfinder is working with governments in 17 countries to forge stronger health and social systems that maintain essential sexual and reproductive health services, keep our staff safe, and prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The heart of our challenge since the onset of the global pandemic has been to continue our critical sexual and reproductive health work in an era where COVID-19 has complicated nearly every decision. Lockdowns, supply shortages, and at times, a fear of going to health facilities due to COVID-19 have challenged the continued provision of sexual and reproductive health care.

But our staff, and the communities they work alongside, is more than up to the challenge. Pathfinder’s targeted response is helping women, girls, and their communities not only survive this crisis but come through it stronger and more resilient.

1.6       Significance of the study

Covid-19 has upended societies and dramatically altered everyday life across the globe. Our present circumstances, while unprecedented, have been profoundly shaped by persistent societal realities—such as entrenched racial and economic inequality, the proliferation of misinformation, and anxieties about the ability of the world’s democracies to confront major crises. In-depth social understanding will be vital to apprehending the crisis and charting a path forward.

1.7       Scope and delimitation of the study

  • Clean your hands before you put your mask on, as well as before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time.
  • Make sure it covers your nose, mouth and chin.
  • When you take off a mask, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day either wash it if it’s a fabric mask, or dispose of a medical mask in a trash bin.
  • Don’t use masks with valves.

1.8       Definition of terms

Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human excreta and sewage. Preventing human contact with feces is part of sanitation, as is hand washing with soap.

Environmental means concerned with the protection of the natural world of land, sea, air, plants, and animals.

Pandemics can be said to occur annually in each of the temperate southern and northern hemispheres, given that seasonal epidemics cross international boundaries and affect a large number of people. However, seasonal epidemics are not considered pandemics.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’



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