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Billions at risk from unsafe water - WHO

Tuesday June 18th, 2019

Billions of people around the world lack basic handwashing facilities and safe drinking water, according to a major analysis published today.

The World Health Organisation worked with UNICEF on the report, which concludes that a third of the world's population do not have access to safe drinking water.

Researchers found that 2.2 billion people do not have safely managed drinking water services and 4.2 billion people do not have safe sanitation services. The world population is currently thought to be 7.7 billion.

According to the study, some 1.8 billion extra people have gained access to basic drinking water services this century – but there are vast differences in the quality of these services.

Some 144 million people still drink untreated surface water, researchers found.

The researchers say that three billion people lack the ability to wash their hands with soap and water at home.

Dr Maria Neira, from WHO, said: “Countries must double their efforts on sanitation or we will not reach universal access by 2030.

“If countries fail to step up efforts on sanitation, safe water and hygiene, we will continue to live with diseases that should have been long ago consigned to the history books: diseases like diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and neglected tropical diseases including trachoma, intestinal worms and schistosomiasis."

Dr Neira added: "Investing in water, sanitation and hygiene is cost-effective and good for society in so many ways. It is an essential foundation for good health.”

Tags: MRSA & Hygiene | World Health

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