Water H²O

One in two people or 27 million out of Tanzania’s population of about 50 million have access to basic water services, said a new report released on Friday.

“The basic water services are within a 30-minute round trip collection time including queuing,” said the joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN’s children agency UNICEF.

The report further revealed that inequalities still existed between rural and urban communities.

In Tanzania, for example, only 37 percent of rural dwellers have access to improved basic water services as compared to 80 percent of urban dwellers, it said.

However, the report said progress on sanitation and hygiene has been slow as 63 percent of Tanzanians still have no access to improved sanitation.

Worldwide some 3 in 10 people or 2.1 billion people lack access to safe, readily available water at home and 6 in 10, or 4.4 billion people lack safely managed sanitation, said the report.

The joint report titled: Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines presents the first global assessment of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services.

Globally, the report shows that billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and sanitation services since 2000, but these services do not necessarily provide safe water and sanitation.

“Many homes, healthcare facilities and schools still lack soap and water for hand washing,” said the report, adding: “This puts the health of all people — especially young children — at risk for diseases, such as diarrhea.”

As a result, globally 361,000 children under 5 years die from diarrhea every year, it said.

According to the report, poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services continues to impact child survival and health while 8 percent of deaths of children under 5 in Tanzania is caused by preventable diarrhea.

“Not only are poor hygiene, open defecation, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation systems leading causes of child illness and death, they contribute to under nutrition and stunting, and act as barriers to education for girls and to economic opportunity for the poor,” said Maniza Zaman, UNICEF representative in Tanzania.

She added: “This new data is a reality check and shows stark inequities, including in Tanzania, in terms of who benefits from safe water and sanitation services.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh