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Failure to meet United Nations sanitation target could affect millions of the world's poorest

lso the fastest growing countries, with population-doubling rates of about 30 years. At the same time, some of the wealthiest developing countries have made very little progress toward the water and sanitation targets."

On the other hand, some of the world's poorest countries have made impressive strides toward the targets, she said. In Myanmar, for example, where the 2005 per capita gross domestic product was only about $1,700, the sanitation target has already been met. According to Davis, political commitment has been a crucial factor in Myanmar, which has celebrated a National Sanitation Week each year since 1998 and has incorporated sanitation services into its national health policy. By contrast, neighboring Indonesia, with a per capita gross domestic product of $4,500, is lagging in its efforts to expand access to sanitation services and is expected to miss the 2015 target.

Despite the challenges, Davis said that it is still possible to meet both Target 10 goals, because in recent years new actors, such the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and new strategies, such as focusing on sanitation in rural as well as urban areas, have emerged on the scene.

"It would be simpler to meet the national targets by focusing on urban areas, because you can serve more people more quickly when they are clustered together," she said. "From a public health perspective, you may also argue that it's the smart thing to do, because densely settled areas are particularly vulnerable to the transmission of waterborne diseases. But from an ethical perspective, such a strategy is untenable."
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Source:Stanford University


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