Disasters in Nigeria: A Public Health Perspective
Background: Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth with some fragile demographic, socio-economic and health indices. The country has been having its own share of both natural and man-made disasters. This paper discussed an overview of disasters and some socio-demographic characteristics of Nigeria, factors in vulnerability of disasters, public health impacts and issues in disaster management in Nigeria among others from a public health perspective and the way forward.
Methods: The authors undertook full searches (September-November, 2012) of original research, reports and reviews using Medline, pubMed, Embase and World Health Organisation (WHO) database. Search words were disaster, disasters in Nigeria, and public health impacts. Part of the data used was personal communications and in-press publications.
Results: The results revealed significant number of disasters in Nigeria, such as plane crashes, oil pipeline fire explosions, collapsed buildings, terrorist attacks, civil strife, and flood, among others. Some of the identified issues that hampered quick response and recovery included poor and ineffective search and rescue operations, poverty, poor public and community education on disaster management, among others.
Conclusion: There is need for public and community education on disaster and its management, disaster preparedness, wellcoordinated and effective search and rescue operations, capacity building, tackling corruption and poverty reduction.
Keywords: Disaster, Public Health, Public Education, Disaster Mitigation, Nigeria