Popular it is not, but 2008 has been a year of major significance. 2.6 billion people do not have access to even the most basic of sanitary services and this humanitarian deficiency is responsible for over 3/4 of all diseases in the poorest corners of our earth. Whatever odorous connotations you might conjure, the International Year of Sanitation has given us an opportunity to learn about a subject that for too long has been taboo.
The British Medical Journal recently ranked sanitation as the most important medical advance since 1840, ahead of even antibiotics and anesthesia in its impact on human well being. Yet today, five times more children die every day from poor sanitation than from the effects of HIV/AIDS.
Sanitation is the world’s most neglected public health crisis. To address this tragedy, the United Nations declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation.
Here are some facts outlining the human toll of poor sanitation:
►40 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to a basic latrine.
►Up to 80 per cent of illnesses and five million deaths every year in the developing world are related to sanitation and water.
►4,500 children die every day from diarrheal diseases.
►443 million school days are lost each year due to sanitation and water-related illnesses.
►Up to 50 per cent of all girls drop out of school due to absence of latrines
►Less than a century ago in North America, life expectancy was not even 50 years. Today, it is close to 80, largely because of adequate sanitary services.
Read More – Epoch Times
The Federal Government has expressed willingness to support the construction of one million latrines throughout the country.
In his welcome address at the celebration of the 2008 World Water Day, the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, Dr. Sayyadi Abba Ruma, said the ministry will collaborate with other relevant agencies in the sanitation sub-sector to attain the International Year of Sanitation targets which include hand washing campaign as well as building one million latrines.
Read more: Misbahu Bashir, Daily Trust / allAfrica.com, 20 Mar 2008
The East African Regional Conference ‘Accelerating Access to Sanitation’ attracted more than 190 mostly African water and sanitation specialists from 25 countries to discuss these matters at the start of the International Year of Sanitation. The conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 27 – 28 November, 2007. It was convened by the Kenyan Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and organised jointly by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH and the KfW Development Bank (KfW).
This conference was called to raise awareness of the sanitation challenge, to set a course for significant improvements and to accelerate actions on the ground. The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2008 as International Year of Sanitation (IYS). This conference was therefore also the regional launch for IYS 2008.
The conference report includes a set of key messages and recommendations. Hard copies can be requested from Mr. Marcel Swiatek, marcel.swiatek[at]gtz.de
East Africa Regional Conference : Accelerating Access to Sanitation : conference report [1.6 MB]
See also the conference web site for more information and all conference background documents and presentations.
Tacloban City (March 14) — The First Provincial Launch of the International Year of Sanitation will be conducted today at the province of Eastern Samar particularly at the picturesque municipality of Guiuan.
Over 80 percent of diseases (including diarrhoea, cholera, intestinal worms, trachoma, typhoid) among adults and children are caused by lack of basic sanitation, according to a new government report entitled Nepal Country Plan for International Year of Sanitation 2008.
The report said poor hygiene and sanitation were causing losses of over US$150 million per year in terms of health costs, loss of economic productivity and the adverse effect on tourism.
“Unless we act fast, the problems will get worse,” said Bharat Adhikari, from the NGO Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH). Adhikari added that there was a need to build at least 15,000 latrines a month (until 2015) if Nepal was to achieve its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of 53 percent access to sanitation and improved drinking water systems by 2015.
Read more: IRIN, 9 Mar 2008
Tacloban City (10 March) — Centered on the theme “Sanitasyon ang Solusyon”, 2008 has been declared as the National Year of Sanitation through a Presidential Proclamation, based on the United Nations General Assembly declaring 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation.
One of the activities identified and to be implemented by the National Center for Health Development in coordination with the Local Government Units is the National Search for the Barangay with Best Sanitation Practices.
Read More – PIA Information Services
Pakistan would formally launch the United Nation (UN)’s declaration of 2008 as International Year of Sanitation (IYS) by kicking off its activities on Tuesday. The UN General Assembly at its session had declared 2008 as IYS with the overall objective of accelerating progress on sanitation to help saving lives and foster economic and social development. The Caretaker Minister for Environment, Syed Wajid Hussain Bukhari would launch the IYS-2008 embarking on a comprehensive plan to accelerate the ongoing efforts for improving the sanitation situation in Pakistan.
Read More – UniquePakistan