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G8 Focus On Maternal, Child Health Should Include Efforts To Improve Sanitation, Report Author Says

Part of Canada’s push to make maternal and child health a focal point of the upcoming G8 summit in June should include an emphasis on efforts to improve sanitation in the world’s poorest countries, according to an author of a report (.pdf) released Wednesday, Canwest News Service/Vancouver Sun reports.

According to Zafar Adeel – director of the Institute for Water, Environment and Health at the United Nations University based in Hamilton, Ontario – sanitation investments offer “simple” and “inexpensive solutions” that save lives, the news service reports.

“Clean water and toilets are critical to mothers and their children, Adeel noted as his group released a [45-page] report [to the U.N.’s Commission on Population and Development] … laying out a nine-point plan to improve sanitation globally by 2015,” the news service writes. “Lack of access to modern toilets and proper sanitation is a major contributor to water-borne diseases that have killed an estimated 4.5 million children under the age of five in the last three years, the authors say,” according to the news service.

The article highlights other findings within the report, such as the estimated cost to provide toilets to the world’s poor (Munro, 4/13).