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Lack of sanitation for 2.4 billion people undermining health improvements - UNICEF, WHO

mdgFinal MDG progress report on water and sanitation released
By WASHplus

Lack of progress on sanitation threatens to undermine the child survival and health benefits from gains in access to safe drinking water, warn WHO and UNICEF in a report tracking access to drinking water and sanitation against the Millennium Development Goals.

The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water: 2015 Update and MDG Assessment, says worldwide, 1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open. “What the data really show is the need to focus on inequalities as the only way to achieve sustainable progress,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation and hygiene programmes.

“The global model so far has been that the wealthiest move ahead first, and only when they have access do the poorest start catching up. If we are to reach universal Lack of sanitation for 2.4 billion people undermining health improvements - UNICEF, WHO Final MDG progress report on water and sanitation released access to sanitation by 2030, we need to ensure the poorest start making progress right away.”

Access to improved drinking water sources has been a major achievement for countries and the international community. With some 2.6 billion people having gained access since 1990, 91 per cent of the global population now have improved drinking water – and the number is still growing. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 427 million people have gained access – an average of 47,000 people per day every day for 25 years. The child survival gains have been substantial. Today, fewer than 1,000 children under five die each day from diarrhoea caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene, compared to over 2,000 15 years ago.

On the other hand, the progress on sanitation has been hampered by inadequate investments in behaviour change campaigns, lack of affordable products for the poor, and social norms which accept or even encourage open defecation. Although some 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, the world has missed the MDG target by nearly 700 million people. Today, only 68 per cent of the world’s population uses an improved sanitation facility – 9 percentage points below the MDG target of 77 per cent.

Fast Facts And Figures on Sanitation

•Over 1.5 million children under five die each year as a result of diarrhoea. It is the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide.

  World Toilet Day, 19 November un water

 Equality, dignity and the link between gender-based violence and sanitation

19 November has been formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly as World Toilet Day

world toilet day 2014World Toilet Day has been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world for many years. However, it was not formally recognized as an official UN day until a UNGA resolution of 24 July 2013, which requested UNWater, in consultation with relevant entities of the United Nations system and in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders, to facilitate the implementation of World Toilet Day in the context of Sanitation for All.

The objective of this initiative is to make sanitation for all a global development priority and urge changes in both behaviour and policy on issues ranging from improving water management to ending open defecation. Today, 2.5 of the world’s seven billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation and 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open. This has significant impacts on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest mortality rate of children under five, high levels of under nutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities.

World Toilet Day intends to raise awareness of sanitation issues – including hygiene promotion, the provision of basic sanitation services, and sewerage and wastewater treatment and reuse in the context of integrated water management – ad make a case for sanitation for all. It intends to encourage UN Member States and relevant stakeholders, including civil society and non-governmental organizations, to promote behavioural change and the implementation of policies in order to increase access to sanitation among the poor and end the practice of open defecation.


• 1 in 3 women are victims of violence at least once in their lifetime.
• 1 in 3 women do not have access to safe toilets
• 2.5 billion people – that’s 1/3 of the globally population – do not have access to safe toilets
• 1 billion people do not have access to a toilet, and are forced to go out in the open
• 9/10 people who defecate openly live in rural settings

How and Why Countries are changing to Reach Universal Access in Rural Sanitation by 2030

By Eddy Perez

The proposed WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) WASH Post 2015 goals for sanitation calls for universal access to basic improved sanitation – by the year 2030. Using largely small scale project approaches that have failed to deliver sustainable sanitation service delivery – especially for the poor -- most countries have not yet achieved the more modest MDG sanitation goals.


A Family Activity Keeping Kids & Adults Healthy

Family Activity1For kids, washing hands can be a fun and entertaining activity. It is simple enough for even very young children to understand . Handwashing gives children and adults a chance to take an active role in their own health. Once kids learn how to properly wash their hands, they can—and often do—show their parents and siblings and encourage them to wash hands, too.

Parents can help keep their families healthy by:

• Teaching them good handwashing technique
• Reminding their kids to wash their hands
• Washing their own hands with their kids

Inadequate Sanitation Costs 18 African Countries around US$5.5 Billion Each Year

• These countries account for 554 million people, which is more than half of Africa’s population.
• The annual economic losses due to poor sanitation are equivalent to between 1% and 2.5% of GDP.
• The true cost could be much higher: this analysis only deals with losses due to premature deaths, healthcare costs, losses in productivity, and time lost through the practice of open defecation.
• Other adverse impacts of inadequate sanitation likely to be significant, but difficult and expensive to estimate, include the costs of epidemic outbreaks; losses in trade and tourism revenue; impact of unsafe excreta disposal on water resources; and the longterm effects of poor sanitation on early childhood development.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2