Southern Africa continues to be plagued by lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services – experts
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have said that there is urgent need to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene services (WaSH) in southern Africa, as too many people continue to live without access to basic facilities.
Oxfam, WaterAid and World Vision, recently highlighted this in a statement following the released report on the State of Hygiene in ten countries in southern Africa.
According to World Vision’s Southern Africa Regional Director for WaSH, Dr Emmanuel Opong, there is a huge gap in the area of sanitation and if governments, communities and civil societies do not adopt innovative strategies, achieving sustainable developments in the area will be impossible.
WaterAid’s which released the report argues that poor hygiene is a major contributor to several hygiene-related diseases in the southern Africa region.
“Most prominently are the endemic cholera outbreaks in five countries in the region including Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as outbreaks of typhoid, Hepatitis E, and more recently Listeriosis,” WaterAid said.
According to the report less than half of the rural population in southern Africa has access to a decent toilet, as recorded by the Joint Monitoring Program.
The NGOs said that better financing, coordination, leadership and monitoring of hygiene promotion policies by governments across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region must be put in place to ensure better hygiene practices in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Meanwhile, the organizations hosted critical discussions with the media in Namibia on the hygiene and WaSH sector in the region on 11 August in Windhoek, aimed at giving greater prominence to the urgent need for action to improve hygiene in the SADC region.
The World Health Organization estimates that a newborn in low- and middle-income countries dies every minute from infections related to lack of clean water and an unclean environment.