Northwest Nigeria is frequently beset with inadequate water supply. The safety of drinking water to the people in this part of the country has been of major concern as a result of frequently reported incidences of waterborne infections. To ascertain incidences of waterborne infections in this study, patient medical records in several primary health care centres in Sokoto, Shuni and Tambuwal towns in Northwest Nigeria were examined to collect data on incidences of waterborne infections and bio-data of the patients. Simple statistical analysis (Percentage) of collated data was carried out. The records showed that there are high incidences of waterborne infections namely typhoid, cholera, dysentery, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis in the three towns, and that these are more frequent in children below the age of 5 years. Gender distribution of diarrhoea and dysentery cases in 2004 and 2005 showed on average that more female than male residents contracted the infections. The number of cases of waterborne infections in the three towns increased from 10.03% in 2004 to 14.14% in 2005. Diarrhoea, constituting 6.23% in 2004 and 10.04% in 2005 was the most commonly reported cases of waterborne infection in the three towns. Shuni recorded the highest (8.95%) incidences of diarrhoea infection in 2004, followed by Tambuwal (6.23%) and Sokoto had the least (4.81%) while in 2005 Sokoto had the highest (11.99%) followed by Tambuwal (10.23%) and Shuni had the least (7.55%). Pre-study investigations have shown that people in this part of the country lack wholesome drinking water, government should therefore endeavour to make potable water abundant and accessible to its people.
Key words: Waterborne infections, drinking water, diarrhoea, Northwest Nigeria.
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