Addis Abeba — Sanitation coverage of Ethiopia has made progressive achievement reaching 54.8% in the current year from11.5% in 2003, the Federal Ministry of Health (MoH) disclosed.
The country is working hard on sanitation to half the current population without access to sanitation by 2015(E.C) as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) has it, said Tesfaye Zewde, MoH representative, at the 2nd National Sanitation and Hygiene Festival focusing on urban sanitation celebrated recently, held at the Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA) hall in Addis Ababa.
In Ethiopia, it is estimated that about 35 million people do not have access to sanitation services and over half a million children under the age of five die every year from diarrhea. In other words, for every five children born, one will die from diarrhea before they reach their fifth birthday. Safe and adequate water supply, improved sanitation and hygienic practices can save thousands of children’s lives each year, he added.
According to him, over 24,000 health extension workers, primarily women, are working with households to promote sanitation through small do-able actions like building and using a simple latrine and washing hands with soap or ash at critical times. Beyond the health extension workers, civil society organizations, private sectors, churches and international organizations are all dedicating money and human resources towards improving sanitation.
This year festival which focuses on urban sanitation is organized with the objectives of appreciating the existing efforts and achievements on urban sanitation, opening up discussion with concerned government and non-government actors and also creating the opportunity for regional groups to share experiences and enhance their commitment in the sector in general and on urban sanitation in particular.
The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Water Resources jointly work to improve urban sanitation.
According to the representative from the Minster of Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) the Ministry had also developed an Urban Sanitation Master plan and model designs. This is expected to help municipalities to for implementation in their own context. The Ministry is also keen in integrating urban water supply and sanitation in all the studies. More than 50 small, medium and large towns have sanitation studies that made along the water supply project.
The three days festival was organized by WASH Ethiopia Movement, and around 250 participants from the Ministry of Water Resources, officials from Ministries of Health, Education and Finance and Economic Development, Federal Environmental Protection Authority, Water Resources, and Works and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Authority, and other invited guests attended the festival.