Improving quality sanitation is a world-wide desire as it will; Improve human health, Generate economic benefits, Contribute to human dignity and social development, Sustain the environment, Minimize and reduce poverty. Recognizing the impact of sanitation on public health, poverty, economic and social development and the environment, the UN General Assembly put the spotlight on the issue by declaring 2008 the international year of sanitation.
The goal is to raise awareness and to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goal (MDG): to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015.
At least 2.6 billion people do not have access to latrines or any basic sanitation facilities. As a result millions suffer from a wide range of preventable illness such as diarrhea which claims thousand s of lives each day, primarily young children. Quick facts:
•Every fifteen to twenty seconds a child between 0 and 5 years dies from diarrhea caused by poor sanitation. •433 million school days are lost annually worldwide due to diarrhea disease.
•The total health budget that is spent on treating diarrhea diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa amounts to 12%. These budgets can be reduced by up to 88% with proper sanitation with health and hygiene benefits. •For every $1 spent on sanitation a benefit of $9 is achieved. •Failure to invest in water and sanitation, according to WHO will cost developing countries $84billion per year in lost lives, low productivity of sick workers, increased health system costs and children absent from school. •One sick person at home results in two people out of work with no income. The end result is poverty. Preventing sanitation related diseases eliminates or minimizes poverty and positively impacts on the health budgets of countries that spend 12% of their budget on diarrhea diseases alone.