1 October 2018: The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a report titled, ‘Guidelines on Sanitation and Health,’ urging countries to invest in sanitation to limit the spread of disease and promote good health and economic productivity. The UN agency estimates that, based on current trends, 90 countries are unlikely to achieve SDG target 6.2 on sanitation for all by 2030.
The publication offers guidance for national and local authorities on establishing safe sanitation systems, including principles for toilet design and the storage, transport, treatment and disposal of fecal sludge and wastewater, and principles for interventions to promote behavior change.
The guidelines outline four main recommendations: ensuring that communities have access to toilets that safely contain excreta; assessing health risks to protect people from exposure to excreta, such as through leaky storage; integrating sanitation into local government planning and service provision; and encouraging the health sector to invest more and coordinate sanitation planning to protect public health.
Every dollar invested in sanitation will bring a six-fold return in lower health costs, increased productivity and fewer premature deaths.
SDG target 6.2 seeks to “achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.” WHO estimates that every dollar that countries invest in sanitation will bring a six-fold return in lower health costs, increased productivity and fewer premature deaths.
WHO commended some countries on their actions on sanitation, including India for its launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission, or Clean India Programme, to coordinate action for sanitation access, and Senegal for its work with the private sector to ensure pit latrines and septic tanks are emptied and treated.
The World Bank estimates that infrastructure investments of US$114 billion a year will be needed to make universal access to sanitation a reality. [Publication: