Health Desk-18 June, 2019: Some 2.2 billion people around the world do not have safely-managed drinking water, according to a new report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
On the other hand, 4.2 billion go without safe sanitation services and three billion lack basic handwashing facilities, it said.
“Mere access is not enough,” said Unicef’s Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). “If the water isn’t clean, isn’t safe to drink or is far away, and if toilet access is unsafe or limited, then we’re not delivering for the world’s children.”
Every year, 297,000 under-age-five children die from diarrhoea linked to inadequate WASH. Poor sanitation and contaminated water also help transmit diseases, such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.
Since 2000, the proportion of the population practicing open defecation has been halved, from 21 per cent to 9 per cent, and 23 countries have achieved near elimination, meaning less than 1 per cent of the population is practicing open defecation, according to Unicef.