6.6bn people lack access to potable water, says WHO, UNICEF report


A new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has explained why diarrhea kills 361,000 children below five years annually.

The report identified poor sanitation and contaminated water as sources of diseases’ transmission as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid.

According to the findings, 2.1 billion people, or three in 10 people worldwide, lack access to safe, readily available potable water at home, while 4.5 billion, or six in 10 people lack safely managed sanitation.

UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, said: “Safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and community.”

He said they are also essential to building stronger, healthier and more equitable societies. “As we improve on these services in the most disadvantaged communities and for the most disadvantaged children today, we are giving them a fairer chance at a better tomorrow,” he said.

The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report, which presents the first global assessment of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services, is that many people still lack access, particularly in rural areas.

The WHO/UNICEF JMP for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene is the official UN mechanism that is tasked with monitoring country, regional and global progress, towards sustainable development goals.

The Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of the rich or those who live in urban centres.

“These are some of the most basic requirements for human health and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.”

According to the report, billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and sanitation services since 2000, but these services do not necessarily provide safe water and sanitation.

Many homes, healthcare facilities and schools still lack soap and water to wash hands. This has placed the people’s health, especially young children at risk of diseases as diarrhoea.

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