Sanitation refers to the safe disposal of human excreta (Mara, Lane and Scott and Trouba, 1). This entails the hygienic disposal and treatment of human waste to avoid affecting the health of people. Sanitation is an essential part of the Millennium Development Goals. The most affected countries are in the developing world (Zawahri, Sowers, and Weinthal 1153). Population increase in the developing world has posed challenges in the improvement of sanitation (Konteh 69). According to Zawahri, Sowers, and Weinthal (1154), lack of provisions of basic sanitation is estimated to have contributed to the deaths of approximately 3.5 million people annually from water borne diseases.
Health Impacts of Sanitation
For any social and economic development, adequate sanitation in conjunction with good hygiene and safe water are essential to good health (Mara, Lane and Scott and Trouba 1). Lack of proper sanitation causes diseases. Most of the diseases resulting from sanitation have a direct relation to poverty. One of the most significant diseases that arise from poor sanitation is diarrhea. Deaths resulting from diarrhea are estimated to be between 1.6 and 2.5 million deaths every year (Mara, Lane and Scott and Trouba 2). Most of the affected are young children below the ages of five. Other diseases that are caused by poor sanitation include schistosomiasis, trachoma, and soil transmitted Helminthiases.
Under nutrition and Respiratory Infections
Poor sanitation accounts for almost 50 percent of underweight child since it has a direct link to diarrhea. Children suffering for diarrhea are more vulnerable to become underweight. According to Mara, Lane, and Scott and Trouba (3), about 26 percent acute respiratory infections occur in children who are malnourished, which has a direct link to diarrhea.
Sanitation is a serious issue that is affecting most parts of the world especially the developing countries. On a global scale, the most affected are children who in most cases lose their lives due to diseases caused by poor sanitation. Major initiatives need to be set up if the MDG goal on sanitation is to be achieved by 2015.
Konteh, Frederick Hassan. “Urban sanitation and health in the developing world: Reminiscing
The nineteenth century industrial nations. ." Health & Place 15.1 (2009): 69-78. Print.
Mara, Duncan, Jon Lane, Beth Scott, and David Trouba. "Sanitation and Health.” PLoS
Medicine 7.11 (2010): 1-7. Print.
Zawahri, Neda, Jeannie Sowers, and Erika Weintha. "The Politics of Assessment: Water and
Sanitation MDGs in the Middle East." Development & Change 42.5 (2011): 1153-1178. Print