Facts About WASH

Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facts
Water, sanitation and hygiene have the potential to prevent at least 9.1% of the global disease burden and 6.3% of all deaths (Prüss-Üstün A., Bos, R., Gore, F. & Bartram, J. 2008). 

An estimated 2.6 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, which is more than 35% of the world’s population (U.S. Census Bureau). Improved sanitation could save the lives of 1.5 million children per year who would otherwise succumb to diarrheal diseases. Worldwide, 884 million people do not have access to an improved water source (water that is supplied through a household connection, public standpipe; borehole well, protected dug well, protected spring, or rainwater collection). Regions with the lowest coverage of "improved" sanitation in 2006 were sub-Saharan Africa (31%), Southern Asia (33%) and Eastern Asia (65%). In 2006, 7 out of 10 people without access to improved sanitation were rural inhabitants (World Health Organization and UNICEF). 

Unsafe drinking water, inadequate availability of water for hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to about 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases, or more than 1.5 million of the 1.9 million children younger than 5 years of age who perish from diarrhoea each year, mostly in developing countries. This amounts to 18% of all the deaths of children under the age of five and means that more than 5,000 children are dying every day as a result of diarrheal diseases (UNICEF 2006).

Water and sanitation interventions are cost effective across all world regions. These interventions were demonstrated to produce economic benefits ranging from US$5 to US$46 per US$1 invested (Hutton G, L Haller, J Bartram 2007).
Improved water sources reduce diarrhoea morbidity by 21%; improved sanitation reduces diarrhoea morbidity by 37.5%; and the simple act of washing hands at critical times can reduce the number of diarrhoea cases by as much as 35%. Improvement of drinking-water quality, such as point-of-use disinfection, would lead to a 45% reduction of diarrhoea episodes (United Nations Millennium Project).

One in five girls of primary-school age are not in school, compared to one in six boys. One factor accounting for this difference is the lack of sanitation facilities for girls reaching puberty. Girls are also more likely to be responsible for collecting water for their family, making it difficult for them to attend school during school hours. The installation of toilets and latrines may enable school children, especially menstruating girls, to further their education by remaining in the school system (The United Nations 2007UNICEF and IRC).
WASH in Nepal
In 1990, the national sanitation coverage was only 6% of the population, however it reached 43% in 2010. The drinking water supply coverage was 42% in 1990 and reached 80% in 2010 (Source: Country Paper Nepal, SACOSAN IV, 2011).

Approximately 80% of the communicable diseases in Nepal are due to contaminated water and poor sanitation. (Vision Facts

In Nepal, 5.6 million people (20 per cent of people) do not yet have access to clean drinking water. In addition to that, one study (Devkota, 2007) indicated that 92 per cent of piped-water supplies and 25 per cent of tube wells are either out of operation or in need of rehabilitation (Source: DWSS, 2010, CBS, 2009 and Nepal MDG Progress Report 2010, Government of Nepal (GoN) and UNDP)   

16 million Nepali people (57 per cent) openly defecate every day due to the lack of latrines in their homes (Source: Nepal MDG Progress Report 2010, DWSS 2010, GoN and UNDP and CBS, 2009).

In Nepal, only 41 per cent of public and community schools have latrine facilities. One fourth of them have separate facilities for girls (Source: Nepal MDG Progress Report 2010, GoN and UNDP).  

37 per cent (14 million) people wash their hands with water and 12 per cent (3.4 million) with soap during critical times in Nepal (Source: Equity in Health Report, Ministry of Health and Population, 2006). 

Nepal needs an annual investment of Rs 7.5 billion to meet the universal access to basic water and sanitation facilities by 2017 (Source: Sector Financing Study, WaterAid in Nepal, 2008 and Red Book, Ministry of Finance, 2009). 
Global Handwashing facts
More than 5,000 children every day or 1.7 million children every year die from diarrheal diseases before the age of five. Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of death in children accounting for 18 per cent of all under-five deaths (The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF 2008).

Handwashing at critical times - including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet - can reduce diarrhoea rates among children under 5 by almost 50 per cent (Curtis, V., and S. Cairncross. 2003).

Handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI’s) by around 23 per cent (Rabie, T and Curtis, V. 2006).

Pneumonia, a major ARI, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the life of an estimated 1.8 million children per year. Diarrhoea and pneumonia, together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually (The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF 2008).

Rates of handwashing around the world are low. Observed rates of handwashing with soap at critical moments – i.e. before handling food and after using the toilet - range from zero per cent to 34 per cent (Scott B, Curtis V & Rabie, T 2003).

A recent study shows that handwashing with soap by birth attendants and mothers significantly increased newborn survival rates by up to 44 per cent (Victor Rhee et al 2008).

Handwashing with soap is the single most cost-effective intervention to prevent diarrheal related deaths and disease (The World Bank 2006).
Benefits of improved water and sanitation
The economic benefits of WASH are immense as investment of Rs 1 in sanitation will give back return of Rs.9 (Equity in Health Report, Ministry of Health and Population, 2006).

10,500 children die unwanted deaths each year due to water and sanitation related diseases in Nepal which can be presented by providing access to sanitation, drinking water and hygiene (Source: Water Aid in Nepal, 2009).

11 percent more girls attend school when a gender friendly sanitation service is available (Source: UK DFID study).

Hygiene education and promotion of hand washing with soap is simple and cost effective means of preventing diarrhoea by 45 percent (Source: Fatal Neglect Report, WaterAid, 2009).