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Poor Sanitation In Africa Causing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Deaths, WaterAid Report Says

“Poor sanitation is causing hundreds of thousands of deaths a year in Africa, where 600 million people — about 70 percent of the population — do not have a safe toilet,” and that number is up from 210 million in 1990 and continues to increase as the population grows and people move into poor urban areas, according to a report (.pdf) from WaterAid, titled “Keeping promises: why African leaders need now to deliver on their past water and sanitation commitments,” the Guardian reports.

“John Garrett, senior policy analyst at WaterAid, said one of the problems was that governments were prioritizing other areas of need, such as health and education,” the newspaper writes, adding, “However, when people do not have access to adequate sanitation and clean water, money spent on health and education is often wasted because people fall ill from preventable diseases such as diarrhea.” The newspaper continues, “Donor funding for sanitation amounts to about $9 billion annually, but WaterAid is urging donor countries to double those sums” in order to “help African countries’ economies to progress, and save money in health and education, the [non-governmental organization (NGO)] argues” (Harvey, 2/27).