18 March 2010

Progress in access to safe drinking-water: Sanitation needs greater efforts

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With 87% of the world’s population or approximately 5.9 billion people using safe drinking-water sources, the world is on track to meet or even exceed the drinking-water target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

This according to the new WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report titled: "Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water –2010 Update Report.

However, with almost 39% of the world’s population or over 2.6 billion people living without improved sanitation facilities, the report also points out that much more needs to be done to come close to the sanitation MDG target. If the current trend continues unchanged, the international community will miss the 2015 sanitation MDG by almost one billion people.

The good news is that open defecation – the riskiest sanitation practice of all – is on the decline worldwide, with a global decrease from 25% in 1990 to 17% in 2008, representing a decrease of 168 million people practicing open defecation since 1990. However, this practice is still widely spread in Southern Asia, where an estimated 44% of the population defecate in the open.

The JMP report presents the current status and trends in 209 countries or territories towards reaching the drinking-water and sanitation MDG target, along with an assessment as to what these trends reveal.

(health-e)

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