Billions around the world lack safe water, proper sanitation facilities, reveals UN report

Some three in ten people around the world lack access to safe and readily available water at home, and almost six in ten to safely managed sanitation, a new United Nations report has warned, calling on countries to do more to fulfil these basic human needs.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) joint report, Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines, many homes, healthcare facilities and schools also lack soap and water for handwashing, putting the health of all people � but especially young children � at risk for deadly diseases.

Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege of only those who are rich or live in urban centres, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said in a news release, announcing the findings and noting that those living in rural areas are the worst affected.

As a result of lack of these basic services, millions fall ill to diseases � that could, otherwise, have been easily prevented � such as diarrhoea which claims the lives of 361,000 children under the age of five die, every year, noted the UN agencies.

Safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and every community � and thus are essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable societies, underscored Anthony Lake, the Executive Director of UNICEF.

Source: UN News Centre