Access to safe water, sanitation has improved, says WHO-UNICEF report

Some 2.5 billion people still use unimproved sanitation facilities; can the world achieve MDG target by 2015?

By Ankita Saxena
Published: Saturday 10 May 2014

The latest global status report on access to drinking water and sanitation shows a jump in the number of people who now avail basic civic facilities. But at the same time, the report by WHO and UNICEF says that by 2012, only 116 countries had met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for drinking water, 77 had met the MDG target for sanitation and 56 countries had met both targets.

Since 1990, over 2 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation and 2.3 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water. Of them 1.6 billion people have piped drinking water within their houses or compound, according to the report—Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2014 Update.

MDG 7.C aims to halve by 2015 the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. More than half the world’s population—almost 4 billion people—now enjoy the highest level of water access: a piped water connection in their homes, the report says.

Most of the people without access to safe drinking water belong to the poor and marginalised sections and almost a quarter of them (173 million) rely on untreated surface water, and over 90 per cent of them live in rural areas.  Some 2.5 billion people still use unimproved sanitation facilities.  Poor sanitation and contaminated water are linked to diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, and typhoid.


Report: Progress on drinking water and sanitation: Joint Monitoring Programme update 2014

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