Water Sanitation and Hygiene Around the Globe

From using the bathroom and washing your hands to taking a shower and quenching your thirst, water is a part of many people’s everyday routine, without them even noticing it; but what if you could not get your hands on clean water? What if you could not enjoy that hot shower or that nice cold glass of water? Unfortunately, for many people around the world, this is a reality.

According to WASH (Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), an estimated 2.5 billion people lack the access to improved sanitation. That is more than 35% of the population in the world. One of the population’s that is highly affected by shortage of water sanitation is school-aged girls. About one in five girls are not in school due to the deficiency of water sanitation facilities for those who are coming to their puberty years. Also, girls are more likely to be the water providers for their families, collecting water, instead of attending school. A solution to this would be the installation of latrines, or bathroom facilities, which would allow menstruating girls to finish their school education. Not only are school-aged girls affected by the insufficiency of water sanitation, but young children are as well.

According to WASH, there is an estimated 2,200 children that are dying every day as a result of diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe drinking water and the inadequate availability of water for hygiene. This is almost 1,000,000 kids each year, under the age of five, that are dying due to not having clean water daily. However, diarrheal diseases are not the only leading cause of death due to the lack of water sanitation, but many underlying diseases and conditions come out of the shortage of clean water. Guinea Worm Disease, Buruli Ulcer, Trachoma and Schistosomiasis are some diseases that could be fatal, and affect millions of people all over the world who have an inadequate amount of clean water supply. Guinea Worm Disease (GWD) is an extremely painful parasitic infection dispersed through contaminated drinking water. It appears like a spaghetti-like worm and can grow up to one meter in length, slowly emerging from the human body through blisters on the skin. Many GWD cases are seen in parts of Africa, mostly Chad. Trachoma, the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness, results from poor hygiene and sanitation. Unfortunately, there are about 41 million people around the globe that suffer from active trachoma, and of that 10 million are visually impaired or irreversibly blind.

There are always solutions to these issues, that could save many lives and prevent many fatal diseases. Water, sanitation and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1% of the global disease burden and 6.3% of all deaths. Improved water resources can help to reduce diarrheal morbidity by a whole 21%, and improved sanitation can reduce it by 37.5%. Next time you have the privilege to take a hot shower or enjoy a nice, cold glass of water, think of those all over the world who don’t have that ability, because there are many.


Article by: Hala Sanyurah

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