[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[afro-nets] 2 billion more people need access to basic sanitation

  • From: Leela McCullough <leela@healthnet.org>
  • Date: Fri, 03 Jun 2005 14:41:21 -0400

2 billion more people need access to basic sanitation


WHO (http://www.who.int)
03 Jun 2005

Almost 2 billion more people need access to basic sanitation by
2015 to meet millenium target

Basic sanitation must reach 138 million more people every year
through 2015 - close to 2 billion in total - to bring the world
on track to halve the proportion of people living without safe
water and basic sanitation, the World Health Organization (WHO)
and UNICEF warn in a new report.

Meeting this Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target would cost
US $11.3 billion per year, a minimal investment compared with
the potential to reduce human illnesses and death and invigorate

Young children suffer disproportionately without safe water and
sanitation services. Every year, 1.9 million children under five
die from diarrhoeal diseases in the world's poorest countries -
over 5000 children each day. Poor water and sanitation contrib-
ute to almost 90 per cent of these deaths (1.6 million). A baby
born in Sub-Saharan Africa is five hundred times more likely to
die from diarrhoeal disease than a baby in the developed world.
Diarrhoea can lead to severe malnutrition, which contributes to
six million child deaths every year - more than half the global
toll of child mortality.

"Access to basic sanitation and adequate drinking water makes
people healthier and more economically and socially productive,"
said Dr LEE Jong-wook, WHO Director-General. "Yet we are not
seeing nearly enough money invested in this primary building
block of development."

While the world is on track to meet its safe water targets, pro-
gress on basic sanitation, in terms of the number of people who
need to gain access to sanitation facilities each year for the
first time, needs to accelerate by at least 58 per cent between
now and 2015 to meet the Millennium target, said UNICEF Execu-
tive Director Ann M. Veneman.

Meeting the target by 2015 would inject an extra US$ 84 billion
per year into developing economies - money saved by averted
deaths, lower healthcare costs and productivity gains, says the
new report, called Water for Life - Making it Happen, released
ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June. The report analyzes
essential investments and strategies to increase access to water
and sanitation between now and the MDG deadline year of 2015.

The report finds that every dollar invested in improved water
supplies and basic toilets pays for itself many times over. Re-
turns range from US $3 to US $34, depending on the type of in-
vestment and the country. Less illness means less burden on
health systems and more time spent at work or in school. Women
and girls can have their lives transformed by better water and
sanitation services. For example, an accessible water source
liberates them from the hours often spent collecting water, and
adequate school toilets make it more likely that girls will at-
tend classes.

The sanitation situation is particularly acute in South Asia and
Sub-Saharan Africa. South Asia needs to reach 42 million addi-
tional people with sanitation services every year to reach the
target. In sub-Saharan Africa, where only 36 per cent of the
population have access to a basic toilet, 27 million people
every year need expanded services. So far, access to sanitation
in the region has increased by just 4 per cent since 1990.

A key to development

Investing in water and sanitation services is also a key element
in improving urban living conditions, spurring rural development
and reducing future costs associated with pollution, poor water
quality and waste management. Planning to meet these major envi-
ronmental challenges now is the best platform for prosperous and
pleasant future living spaces, says Dr. Kerstin Leitner, WHO As-
sistant Director-General for Sustainable Development and Healthy

"We must ensure that access to drinking water and sanitation be-
comes a master component in development planning, she said. Ade-
quate water and sanitation infrastructure is the only means pos-
sible of supporting socially, economically and environmentally
sustainable development of urban areas.

The report recommends five key complementary actions to reach
the water and sanitation MDG over the next ten years (the Inter-
national Decade for Action on Water for Life): meeting basic
sanitation demand; significantly increasing access to safe
drinking water; teaching good hygiene in homes and schools; pro-
moting household water treatment and safe storage; and ensuring
more health for the money by providing water and sanitation sys-
tems together.

Failure to meet these simple needs is costing many children
their lives, said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman. An
investment in safe water and sanitation for homes and schools
can be a key factor in reducing child mortality.

For more information contact:

Mr Gregory Hartl
Telephone: +41 22 791 4458
Mobile phone: +41 79 203 6715

Claire Hajaj
Telephone: +1 212 326 7566

Leela McCullough, Ed.D.
Director of Information Services

30 California Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: +1-617-926-9400
Fax: +1-617-926-1212