Water Sanitation in Africa

by Rosaline Campbell on February 20, 2014

By Rosaline Campbell

Water sanitation across the globe is an issue that is encountered frequently in topics of global environmental health.  Organizations such as the United Nations and the World Health Organization address the many aspects of water sanitation.   The economics that go along with water sanitation is discussed by the World Health Organization on their website, where they go into depth of the cost it takes to provide water that is safe to drink and easily accessible.  The United Nations is also concerned with humans’ right to water, which they discuss in the Millennium Development Goals Report.  The last aspect of water sanitation that I’m going to discuss is the diseases that are caused by inadequate water sanitation.

The World Health Organization often talks about the economics and funding that accompany water sanitation.  In developing countries having water sanitation systems that are economically feasible is a very important aspect of everyday life.  Currently the sub-Saharan part of Africa has one of the lowest rates of water coverage with a rate of 63% .  It is estimated that in Africa it would cost anywhere from $0.33 to $12.75 per person per year to maintain water sanitation and provide them with water.  The question then arises, is the cost of the water sanitation systems something that is possible to accomplish in the sub-Saharan part of Africa?  This question is addressed in the Millennium Development Goals Report.

The United Nations produces the Millennium Developmental Goals Report to address current issues that are happening in the world today.  One portion of this report is the Goal Seven section, which aims to address ensuring environmental sustainability.  In goal 7C it addresses the issue of water sanitation, specifically the problem of water sanitation in the sub-Saharan Africa and makes it a goal to improve that.  The United Nations also looks at the progress the world has made in water sanitation over the years.  For example, from 1990 to 2010 more than 2 billion people were provided with access to water who did not have it before.  The United Nations establishes that every human has a right to water and goes to many lengths to provide people with that right.

The final aspect of water sanitation to address is the diseases that are caused by insufficient water sanitation.  Cholera is a disease caused by a lacking in water sanitation.  Cholera has been mostly eradicated from industrialized countries because of the water sanitation, but this is not the case in the sub-Saharan Africa.  In Africa cholera rates still are among the highest when compared to other places this is because of the lack in water sanitation and the lack of water availability.  Cholera becomes serious among the people in the sub-Saharan Africa because many of them lack nourishment, which increases the severity of the disease and its symptoms.  Cholera has been mostly taken out of industrialized society, but for the cases that occurred  “Africa accounted for 87% of these cases,” (WHO) showing that the problem of water sanitation and the diseases it causes is a serious problem in Africa.

In conclusion, there are many aspects to water sanitation that affect  global environmental health.   Limited access to water is an issues that is still present in today’s modern society, especially in developing countries, and can lead to serious diseases like malaria.  Organizations like WHO and the United Nations are working to provide sanitized water to everybody in the world  and state that every human has a right to water.  Water sanitation is still an ongoing issue affecting global environmental health, but has improved vastly because of global awareness.








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