Tanzania could save over 8,000 children’s lives by meeting its 2015 sanitation target, a new report released on Thursday by the international aid agency, WaterAid, has said.
The lives of 8,448 children could be saved in Tanzania if it met its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people without safe sanitation by 2015.
Saving Lives reveals that Tanzania is one of 57 countries currently most off-track to meeting its sanitation MDG target.
On current trends Tanzania is due to halve the proportion of people lacking sanitation by 2300, missing the MDG sanitation target by 285 years.
According to the latest figures released by UNICEF and the WHO, only 10 per cent of the population has access to safe sanitation. The MDG target for Tanzania is for 54 per cent to have access for improved sanitation by 2015.
Paul Obura, interim country representative of WaterAid in Tanzania, said: “By meeting the Millennium Development Goal target on sanitation by 2015, we can save the lives of over eight thousand children in Tanzania. We need to do more to save these lives.”
The report comes as 70 ministers from governments around the world are attending the Sanitation and Water for All high-level meeting which started yesterday in Washington, DC.
Paul added: “The Washington meeting is crucial to turning the corner on providing essential life saving access to safe sanitation and water. Our government and the international community must grasp this opportunity to act in response to the crisis of lost lives.”
The WaterAid report also says that the lives of 2.5 million people around the world would be saved if everyone had access to safe water and adequate sanitation.
The report concludes: “There are more people in the world today without sanitation than there were in 1990,” adding that “the poor quality of sanitation and lack of access to safe drinking water causes 1.4 million child deaths every year due to diarrhoea, and these deaths are preventable”.
Diarrhoea caused by unsafe drinking water and a lack of quality sanitation is the biggest killer of children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa, and the second biggest killer of children worldwide.
The Sanitation and Water for All meeting in Washington will bring together 100 ministers and delegates from over 50 countries to discuss the water and sanitation crisis.
Participating governments have to bring pledges to the table on increasing access to water and sanitation for the next two years; donor governments also have to provide commitments ahead of the meeting.
The meeting is part of the International Monetary Fund's and World Bank's spring meetings and brings together governments, NGOs, the private sector and civil society.