​​​​Since 1990, more than two billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources and 1.8 billion have gained access to improved sanitation (WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation). 

However, there are still 780 million people without access to improved drinking water sources worldwide and 2.5 billion people still lack safe sanitation. Lack of access to these services has grave repercussions for children. The contamination of food and their lack of access to these services makes are the leading causes of diarrhoea among children.


Diarrhoea is primarily a symptom of viral, bacterial or parasitic intestinal infection as a result of the unsafe disposal of faeces and other waste, and causes 4% of all deaths and 5% of all health loss to disability.

The majority of the 1.8 million people who die from diarrhoeal diseases (including cholera) are children. (WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation). Severe diarrhoea can lead to fluid loss and dehydration which is especially likely to be life threatening in children and infants, malnourished people and those with compromised immunity.

A lack of adequate drinking water and/or sanitation facilities couple with poor hygiene, impacts negatively on the disease burden of millions of children and adults through: schistosomiasis, intestinal worms, hepatitus, typhoid and other diseases. This then in turn of course, aggravates poverty and has negative repercussions on productivity and well being.

Promoting Access and Messages of Good Hygiene

Sufficient and better quality drinking-water and basic sanitation, combined with good hygiene practices, can cut the toll of lives lost dramatically. Simple, low-cost household water treatment has the potential to save additional lives.

Regular hand washing with soap and clean water, access to adequate supply of clean, uncontaminated water and hygiene education and promotion.

Water and Sanitation Resources

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