WC when functional pit would do

Here’s what a visitor to Gbagada General Hospital, Lagos where visitors’ toilet is the bush near Combined Clinics and Ward.

Sometimes, I stepped on the faeces of other people and the smell in that place is horrible. But what I do is to drop my own, and cover it up with tissue paper before leaving.”

Apparently Gbagada General Hospital used to have toilet for visitors, this was shut a while ago because it was always soiled.

This is my point about our general attitude to sanitation and personal hygiene. If a big hospital such as this decided to close down toilet facilities for visitors staying with their ailing family, where do you suppose they’d ease themselves?

For a hospital, why would anyone bothered to have water cistern toilet for visitors’ use if there is no water to flush? Having a simple pit like this one would have done the same job as it is low maintenance as less water is required for cleaning. 

Lack of visitors’ toilet is not peculiar to Gbagada General Hospital alone, it is the same with OAU Teaching Hospital Ile Ife, this is given my sister’s experience a few years ago. Shut put to the bush is all too common with visitors to public hospitals.

Although, this sounds disturbing given hospitals is meant to be a place to get better, however the reality is that as a nation we have terrible attitude towards adequate provision of toilet facilities. This is all too clear from home (especially in rural ares)/public schools/places of worship/market places.

Here we share similar story with India, they too have a huge problem with public defecation and lack of toilets in homes and public places. Their government seems to be keen about raising awareness and doing something about it, here.

I hope that Punch article about Gbagada hospital hits some nerves – maybe we’ll read about improvement soon.


PS: Good news that a few days after Gbagada General Hospital was exposed they have made efforts to re open the locked visitors’ toilet also provided temporary mobile toilets for visitors. 


16 thoughts on “WC when functional pit would do

  1. Well, my first reaction was ‘f*****g disgusting’! As for India, I’ve no connection with the place at least they recognise it as a problem and are mobilising themselves, but with Nigeria, I would have hoped that standards would be higher – but alas no. No lesson has been learned.

    Even if you have to pay the cleaners more to regularly clean the toilets, or charge the visitors – hygiene should be uppermost in the thoughts of staff. You can’t expect any kind of decent recovery whilst being located in a ‘s**t hole’.

    Such stories sadden me especially in this day and age, when a huge number of Nigerians have gone abroad to study medicine in various fields (for decades). Some have even returned to assume positions of responsibility, and with the money from oil, this is the result.

    Conclusion would tend to suggest it has all been a huge waste of one big hoax. People are not entering the medical profession to dedicate themselves to the recovery of others, but for personal gain… How is it that Cuba, with all it’s external problems can come up with a health system that is light years ahead of Nigeria, and only rely on rum, tobacco, sugar and tourism to fuel its economy? Something in Nigeria in the health sector has gone badly wrong.


    1. I remember when I visited my Dad’s place in Lagos, the water was disconnected (due to the previous tenant not paying. my Dad said the cost was too high to reconnect). I had to go down one floor to collect these huge jerry cans of water and bring them back upstairs. That was one of my jobs whilst on ‘holiday’. When I returned to England, I realised the value of tap water and flushing toilets.
      When one had to use the toilet, I had to grab a bucket, fill it with water, take a cake of soap, a towel and toilet paper and go to the toilet (which was indoors). After having used the toilet, before flushing I used to wash my hands with the water, in the bucket and then use the bucket to flush. This was in Lagos, not my hometown, this was my first introduction to Africa (though I would expect the standards in other African countries to not be as bad as that of Nigeria).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha, it worked! I just read that Gbagada hospital has now provided handful of mobile toilets also cleaned out visitors’ toilet previously closed, maybe citizens should take the job of exposing these disgusting habit seriously. http://www.punchng.com/metro-plus/lagos-floods-general-hospital-with-mobile-toilets/

        My ‘relationship’ with India started a few years ago when I found out about their open defecation habit. Tourists have written so much about the subject that now the government realise there is no way of escaping the reality but to deal with it.

        Nigeria doesn’t have tourists from outside so we blame one another, that way easier for public space to remain disgusting.

        Nigeria has insane habit towards sanitation. Your experience is actually very common and still the most used till date. The reason people feel defensive and discounting themselves from talking about this is because Nigeria always measure the whole population based on the lifestyle of the few. But in reality when you step out of the road, you can read us like a book.

        At the Lagos international airport a few months ago, at the departure Ladies toilet were three attendants looking after a block of toilet and hanging around there. So each time anyone finishes, they go in to be sure it’s flushed and a lady standing there helping my 8 year old to wash her hands. I thanked her and we left.

        My problem with the above is that if enough adults finish using toilets without flushing that we needed a standby attendants, and we needed a janitor to get an 8 year old to wash hands, then we have a bigger problem that must be addressed nationally.

        On the impart of medical doctors educated abroad, what I have seen is the likes of Senate President who spent so many years studying only to want to be in politics, it is the same story with other professionals.


        1. FK, it is good news about the toilets at the Gbagada hospital, this should be uniform across all ‘hospitals’ in Nigeria not to mention health clinics.

          Unbelievable, adults don’t know how to use a toilet (that flushes), yet know how to board an international flight with all the procedures that have to be followed. You are right, this points to a very deep and nasty habit that exists there.

          Some sort of review needs to be put in place to ensure that doctors who go overseas to study medicine do indeed return and practice for a minimum period of time, and hopefully utilise the better ways of running a hospital and treating patients.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You see, that would make me so happy if the government make it mandatory that whoever goes abroad on either state/fed scholarships must come back to practice for a couple of years at least or they pay the money back. This used to be the practice but not anymore, it is the biggest brain drain we created for ourselves.


            1. This only confirms in my mind that the late Dr Adadevoh was really a lone star in sea of unscrupulous characters that make up the medical profession in Nigeria. She was well and truly dedicated to her cause.
              Nigeria really needs to take healthcare seriously, if it is to rise above being a centre for the outbreak of contagious and deadly diseases.
              The portable toilets for Gbagada hospital should be viewed as a temporary measure, until a more permanent and suitable solution can be found.


              1. Very true, Dr Adadevoh, not only dedicated, she was a realist. She knew the truth state of Nigeria when it comes to hygiene and sanitation. We will never be able to fully appreciate what the lady did.

                Well, Gbagada likely to do the needful now as they are on the spot light, the hope is that others follow the simple commonsense step.

                Nigeria unlikely to take anything seriously unless the few elite is affected where it hurts deep. It will be up to the citizens in the majority to continue pointing out the rot.


                1. What you said about Nigerian authorities ‘measuring up’ is sad but true. Sometimes, we need such truth to ‘get a grip’ of reality and scale down our expectations. – thank you FK.

                  Liked by 1 person

  2. As you know, Fola, this is one of the best ways to spread other diseases, chlolera for one. It is a little ironic that a hospital sees fit to do this. Public funding should be going into providing these basic facilities, especially in a hospital.

    Liked by 2 people

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