The Devastating Impact of Unimproved Sanitation
Unimproved sanitation is a serious problem in
many developing nations.
insecurity and a lack of access to health care are serious problems in many
countries, but unimproved sanitation is also an urgent issue. Children in need
and their families who don't have access to safe, clean and private toilets
— an estimated 2.5 billion people — are more susceptible
to communicable diseases, and children under the age of 5 have much higher
mortality rates. Although progress has been made in improving sanitation in
many developing nations, data from the Institute for Health Metrics and
Evaluation indicates more must be done to tackle the impact of unimproved
sanitation around the world.
to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Project, 870 million people living in
developing countries in 2011 (except for India and China) have gained access to improved sanitation since
1990, but there is also a 12 percent increase of population using
unimproved facilities in these countries for the same 21-year period.
Overall, people in rural areas have much less access to clean toilets
than those in urban regions. As a result of this widespread problem, diarrheal
diseases represent the second most common cause of death of young children in
developing countries, resulting
in one death every 20 seconds.
in some of the world's poorest countries to provide sanitary bathroom
facilities to communities in need, including Bolivia. We have helped install
or repair dilapidated bathrooms to
give schoolchildren access to clean restrooms.
so happy about the new bathrooms that they just don't want to come out from
there," says a teacher in Sapahaqui, a small rural town in western Bolivia. "I
can already notice that hand washing and new bathrooms are affecting
children's health because fewer and fewer of them catch cold and have
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