Saturday, March 23, 2013

Make water and sanitation for all in Africa a reality by 2030, leaders urged

By Ochieng’ Ogodo


 [NAIROBI] Leaders should support the ambitious target of providing access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all in Africa by 2030.
In a press statement of March 21 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of World Water Day, WaterAid, an international non governmental organisation, says that the lack of progress in improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene is acting as a brake on progress in economic and human development, particularly in child health, nutrition and education in Africa.
The WaterAid’s report ‘Everyone Everywhere’ that was  launched by President Johnson Sirleaf on March 21 at a UN event on water in the Hague, in the Netherlands, sets out a vision for making safe water and sanitation available to all and reviews the progress that has been made to date in tackling water and sanitation poverty.
 It finds that, lack of progress in improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene was a great impediment to economic and human development.
The global NGO with a mission to transform lives by improving access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities, cites World Health Organisation figures showing economic gains that Africa could make if everyone on the continent having access to water and sanitation.
The continent could gain $33 billion every year from everyone with access to water and sanitation. Out of this US$4.5 billion would come from reduced healthcare costs; $7.2 billion gained from reduced mortality; $2 billion from less time taken off from work; and a staggering $19.5 billion in general time saved.
Benefits of lives saved from everyone having access to water and sanitation on the continent could be significant.  The Institute of Health Metrics estimates that that around 550,000 people die from diarrhoea diseases every year in Sub-Saharan Africa, 88 per cent of whom, according to the WHO, can be attributed to a lack of water, sanitation and hygiene that is equivalent to 480,000 deaths due to a lack of these services on the continent.
The WaterAid call came as over 50,000 people took part in more than 30 mass walking events on the day across Africa to call on their governments to keep their promises on access to clean water and safe sanitation.
 In the new report by WaterAid today, President Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia says, “Addressing the global water and sanitation crisis is not about charity, but opportunity.  According to the WHO, every $1 invested in water and sanitation produces an average of $4 in increased productivity.  It enables sustainable and equitable economic growth.”
WaterAid Pan-Africa Programme Manager, Nelson Gomonda, says in the report thatNothing could better demonstrate that our continent has truly begun to realise its potential and is coming true on its promise of progress and development, than achieving the fundamental goal of every African having safe drinking water.”
He says more than 330 million Africans today live without access to clean water, so the road to travel is long, but the end is in sight. 
“With more than 1,000 African children under the age of five dying every day from diseases brought about from a lack of water and sanitation, Africans will not accept failure. We have to reach this target,” he says.
Currently, in Sub-Sahara Africa, 334 million people that is 39 percent of the population, lack access to clean drinking water, while under 600 million (70 per cent) lack access to sanitation.
WaterAid is calling on international leaders to: 
  • Recognise the need for the framework that replaces the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 to reflect the contribution of water, sanitation and hygiene to other areas of poverty reduction, including health, education, gender equality, economic growth and sustainability. 
  • For the UN to set a new global target to achieve universal access to water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030.
  • Identify ways of accelerating future rates of progress on sanitation if the goal of universal access is to be met by 2030
The report link:

Ochieng’ Ogodo is a Nairobi based journalist whose works have been published in various parts of the world including Africa, the US and Europe. He is the English-speaking Africa and Middle East region winner for the 2008 Reuters-IUCN Media Awards for Excellence in Environmental Reporting. He is the chairman of the Kenya Environment and Science Journalists Association. He can be reached at, or

No comments:

Post a Comment