You are here: HomeNews2015 05 28Article 359901

Health News of Thursday, 28 May 2015

Source: GNA

WaterAid urges African leaders to prioritize sanitation

International development agency WaterAid, has urged African leaders to prioritize water and sanitation and commit political will and financing to meeting targets in the sector.

The call is contained in a statement issued by the organization on the occasion of the Fourth African Sanitation Conference (AfricaSan Four) slated for May 25 to 27 in the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

The statement said the conference which was postponed for eight months due to the Ebola outbreak, would implore African leaders and civil society organizations to assess progress and address issues relating to provision of water and sanitation.

“African leaders must prioritize sanitation from the highest decision-making levels, and support the proposed UN Sustainable Development Goal to ensure water and sanitation for all by 2030,” WaterAid said.

The organization said AfricaSan Four comes at a critical time as the millennium development goals end this year and UN

member-nations prepare to adopt the new Sustainable Development Goals next year to shape development to 2030.

The statement noted that over 70% of Sub-Saharan Africans still lack access to sanitation, and a quarter of the population practises open defecation, while 400,000 African children under five years die annually, because of diseases linked to poor sanitation – almost four times as many as in the rest of the world.

According to Ms Mariame Dem, WaterAid’s West Africa Head of Region, “not enough progress” has been made and 53.3 million people must be reached yearly if everyone in Sub-Saharan Africa is to have basic, hygienic toilets by 2030.

“We are calling on the African ministers attending AfricaSan Four to put their promises into action. Their people need dedicated leaders who are willing to rally their resources, and do everything in their power to reach everyone in their nations.

Ambitious targets alone are not enough”, the statement quoted Ms Dem as saying.

WaterAid also said it had just unveiled its re-designed WASHWatch reporting system, an interactive world map of water and sanitation showing Africa’s predicted progress by 2030, in order to track the continent’s commitment to providing universal access to water and sanitation.

The organization said the WASH Map identifies those African nations which are lagging behind the furthest in the 2030 sanitation target, and also demonstrates that despite assurances from African nations that sanitation is a priority, more than 66% of the African population would still be living without adequate sanitation by 2030.