"Nearly 780 million people are deprived of safe drinking water -- and 2.5 billion lack access to improved sanitation -- all because governments aren't spending scarce resources wisely, according to a joint report [.pdf] of the World Health Organization and U.N.-Water," VOA News reports. Though "more than two billion people gained access to safe drinking water and 1.8 billion gained access to improved sanitation" between 1990 and 2010, billions of people still lack these basic services, the report noted, according to the news service.
"The data, collected from 74 developing nations, show countries suffering from a chronic lack of technicians, skilled labor and staff to operate and maintain sanitation and drinking water infrastructure," VOA writes, adding, "The report says the total amount given in development aid for sanitation and drinking water increased by three percent -- to $7.8 billion -- from 2008 to 2010, but only half of that amount is allocated to regions where 70 percent of those lacking these services actually live: sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and South-Eastern Asia" (Schlein, 4/12). According to a U.N.-Water press release, "Nearly 80 percent of countries recognize the right to water, and just over half of them the right to sanitation. Realizing the rights to water and sanitation may help targeting resources to unserved population and avoid discrimination in the provision of [water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)] services" (4/12).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.