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Safer water, better health


Safer water, better health

Authors: Prüss-Üstün, Annette; Bos, Robert; Gore, Fiona; Bartram, Jamie
Number of pages: 53
Publication date: 2008
Language: English

Download the report [pdf 2.6Mb]

Lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene remains one of the world’s most urgent health issues. A new WHO report shows that a staggering 9.1% of the total global burden of disease could be prevented by improving access to clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene. In 32 worst-affected countries, the figure is 15%.

There are both direct (diarrhoeal illnesses) and indirect (water-borne and water-related illnesses) health consequences that come from these conditions.
In addition to the health benefits that can be derived, the WHO report highlights many other paybacks. Health-care agencies could save US$7 billion a year on health-care costs. There could be an extra 272 million school attendance days a year, and 320 million productive working days could be gained.. .

Safer water for better health is the first-ever report depicting country-by-country estimates of the burden of disease due to water, sanitation and hygiene. It highlights how much disease could be prevented through increased access to safe water and better hygiene. It provides epidemiological evidence and economic arguments for fully integrating water, sanitation and hygiene in countries' disease reduction strategies.

This is a critical problem that involves us all. From the government down to the individual, action must be taken to alleviate human suffering.

We are not dealing with rocket science here. We know how to cut down on mortality arising from inadequate water and poor sanitation.

The government must take the lead, by allocating money and providing direction. We should be asking our candidates what they intend to do if elected. If they will continue to ignore our obligations as human beings, we don't need them.




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