About three in 10 people worldwide, or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily-available water at home, while six in 10, or 4.5 billion, lack safely-managed sanitation, a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
The Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report, “Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal baselines”, presented the first global assessment of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services.
The report’s overriding conclusion was that too many people still lack access, particularly in rural areas. “Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban centres,” says WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
He said these are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them. Ghebreyesus said though billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and sanitation services since 2000, these services do not necessarily provide safe water and sanitation.
“Many homes, healthcare facilities and schools also still lack soap and water for hand washing. This puts the health of all people but especially young children at risk for diseases such as diarrhoea,” the report accessed by The Nation said.
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