On the launch of its first global guidelines on sanitation and health, the WHO called for increased investment to reach the goal of toilet for all
The world is unlikely to reach the target of universal sanitation coverage – where every person in the world has access to toilets that safely contain excreta – by 2030 unless countries make policy shifts and invest more funds, said the World Health Organization (WHO) as it launched its first global guidelines on sanitation and health.
The guidelines can help countries reduce the 829,000 annual diarrhoeal deaths due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. According to the global health body, for every US$ 1 invested in sanitation, it expects a nearly six-fold return as measured by lower health costs, increased productivity and fewer premature deaths.
It is said that globally 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitation and almost half forced to defecate in the open. They are among the 4.5 billion who don’t have access to a toilet connected to a sewer or pit or septic tank that treats human waste. In India, the hope to be ODF by 2019 remains as bruised as the millions of toilets that have been built but never used.
“Without proper access, millions of people the world over are deprived of the dignity, safety and convenience of a decent toilet,” said Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director-General for Programmes, WHO. The new guidelines, based on 4 principal recommendations, were developed in lieu of the weak current sanitation programmes. They focus on community action, local health risk assessments, sustainability and public health.
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