27 million Tanzanians now have access to improved water services

waterOne in two people in Tanzania has access to basic water services according to a new report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF 

But progress on sanitation and hygiene has declined as 63 per cent of Tanzanians still have no access to improved sanitation.

The Joint Monitoring Programme report, Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Baselines, presents the first global assessment of “safely managed” drinking water and sanitation services.

Globally, the report shows that billions of people have gained access to basic drinking water and sanitation services since 2000, but these services do not necessarily provide safe water and sanitation. Many homes, healthcare facilities and schools still lack soap and water for handwashing. This puts the health of all people, especially young children, at risk of disease.

As a result, every year, globally 361 000 children under five years die due to diarrhoea. Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services continues to impact child survival and health. In Tanzania, eight per cent of deaths of children under 5 is caused by preventable diarrhoea. 

“Availability of safe water supply and adequate sanitation contributes immensely to improved quality of life and productivity for sustainable development,” said Dr. Matthieu Kamwa, WHO representative in Tanzania said. "The SDG 6 calls for ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. It’s a noble plea to ascertain that no one is left behind as an important principal for achieving each of the SDGs.”

The report revealed that inequalities still exist between rural and urban communities. In Tanzania for example only 37 per cent of rural dwellers have access to improved basic water services (within 30 minutes round trip walk) compared to 80 per cent of urban dwellers.  

“Not only are poor hygiene, open defecation, and lack of access to safe water and sanitation systems leading causes of child illness and death, they contribute to undernutrition and stunting, and act as barriers to education for girls and to economic opportunity for the poor,” said Maniza Zaman, UNICEF representative in Tanzania. “This new data is a reality check and shows stark inequalities, including in Tanzania, in terms of who benefit from safe water and sanitation services. It is a call to spark a truly national movement for water, sanitation and hygiene so that everyone is reached especially the under-served areas, poorest communities and the most vulnerable children, including children with disabilities,” she added.

Worldwide some 3 in 10 people or 2.1 billion, lack access to safe, readily available water at home and 6 in 10, or 4.4 billion, lack safely managed sanitation.

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