Global Situation
​​​​​​​Since 1990, more than two billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources and 1.8 billion have gained access to improved sanitation (WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation). However, there are still 780 million people without access to improved drinking water sources worldwide and 2.5 billion people still lack safe sanitation. Lack of access to these services has grave repercussions for children.

Diseases spread by poor water, sanitation and hygiene

A lack of adequate drinking water and/or sanitation facilities coupled with poor hygiene, impacts negatively on the disease burden of millions of children and adults through: schistosomiasis, intestinal worms, hepatitus, typhoid and other diseases. The contamination of food and their lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services are also the leading causes of diarrhoea among children. This then in turn of course, aggravates poverty and has negative repercussions on productivity and well being. 

Diarrhoea is primarily a symptom of viral, bacterial or parasitic intestinal infection as a result of the unsafe disposal of faeces and other waste. According to UNICEF 88% of diarrhoeal deaths are due to lack of access to safe drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene. 

Severe diarrhoea can lead to fluid loss and dehydration which is especially likely to be life threatening in children and infants, malnourished people and those with compromised immunity. ​According to the World Hygiene Programme, every year around 700,000 (2000 a day) children die from diarrhoea caused by poor water, sanitation and hygiene. Even when it doesn't kill it can impact on child stunting mentally and physically, affecting children for the rest of their lives.

Promoting Access and Messages of Good Hygiene in Schools
Sufficient and better quality drinking-water and basic sanitation, combined with teaching good hygiene practices in schools and encouraging children to demonstrate good hygiene to their families and community is one method to cut the toll of lives lost dramatically. 

Clear evidence now shows the importance of hygienic behaviour, in particular handwashing with soap at critical times of the day, after defecating and before eating and preparing food. Handwashing with soap significantly reduces the incidence of diarrhoea and also helps to reduce the incidence of other dieases notably, pneumonia, trachoma, scabies, skin and eye infections and diarrhoea related diseases like cholera and dysentry. 

Water and Sanitation Resources