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Cleaning Up the World's Sanitation
Date:3/20/2008

sease (including dysentery and cholera) is a leading cause of death (1.8 million a year) and illness. About 5,000 children die of diarrheal disease each day and hundreds of millions of other children suffer reduced growth physical growth and impaired cognitive function due to intestinal worms.

Together, poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitation contribute to 88 percent of all deaths from diarrheal disease, according to the UN.

Meeting the MDG sanitation target would save $552 million a year worldwide in disease treatment costs. Meeting the target would also boost children's school attendance and provide a number of economic benefits for communities, such as infrastructure development.

In addition, health, safety and comfort standards for sanitation (along with aesthetic considerations) can also have a major influence on tourists' choice of destinations, the UN noted.

Currently, the areas with the least access to improved sanitation are West and Central Africa (36 percent coverage), South Asia (37 percent), and Eastern and Southern Africa (38 percent). Of the 2.6 billion people who don't have access to improved sanitation, two billion (77 percent) live in rural areas.

More information

The World Health Organization has more about sanitation and health.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: United Nations, news release, March 20, 2008


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