The negative impact of poor water supply and sanitation affects more people than war, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction combined.
In a Lancet article, the fifth in a series of papers summarising the key conclusions of a three-year independent advisory effort commissioned by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to review progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). The Project - which aims to commit the international community to address extreme poverty, stet targets for the year 2015.
Jamie Bartram (World Health Organisation) and colleagues report that poor sanitation and a lack of safe drinking water is a ‘silent humanitarian crisis’ that kills some 3900 children everyday and stops any progress to the MDG’s targets, particularly in Africa and Asia. Although some progress has been made in acheiving the overall target of halving the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2015, it still leave millions of people without safe drinking water, in Asia and Africa. The article calls for immediate concerted efforts to confront the reality that decent sanitation in the developing world cannot keep pace with the growth in population.
Four out of ten people in the world do not have access to a simple pit toilet.! Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation have a strong positive effect on human health; however the development and management of water resources as a whole can have significant health implications. Although man-made reservoirs and irrigation schemes help provide food and nutrition but they can also form ideal habitats for harmful parasites & bacteria. Colossal amounts of money are not demanded nor any major scientific initiative – just more trained local health professionals and a concerted effort by the international health community to achieve the best outcomes.