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Project September 6, 2023

The Drainage System That Stands in the Way: Seeking Disease Eradication in Lagos, Nigeria



A police vehicle and commercial trailer on a flooded and broken-down road in Maza Maza. Image by Precious Williams. Nigeria, 2023.

The problem of poorly-designed water and drainage systems takes backseat precedence when discussing strategies for disease control in Africa. Floods are a systemic consequence of poor infrastructure that contribute to adverse environmental and health outcomes. These outcomes continue to perpetuate the increase in malaria and water-borne communicable diseases, as well as hinder disease control.

In Lagos, Nigeria, local environmentalists report that only 20% of the city is equipped with a functional drainage system. This inadvertently leads to the overflowing of highly toxic and polluted “canals” into residential street roads and homes, providing a perfect breeding ground for malaria and other communicable water-borne disease vectors.

This project showcases an environmental global health problem through the experiences of residents who suffer from the plight of seasonal malaria following the intense rainy season and flooding in the state. A photo essay shows the flow of polluted water and its pathway into homes and water sources. The goal is to shine a light on the problem and encourage aid and change for the residents and people in the Lagos community.


navy halftone illustration of a syringe