Water Quality – A Global Health Challenge

For numerous African countries, official reports state that 80% of diseases are waterborne – microorganisms playing a significant role. In Western Africa, 20% of the children die before the age of 5, mainly because of these diseases.

Those numbers remind us strongly that drinking water quality remains a health challenge at the start of 21st century!

Diseases caused by poor quality water

  • Diarrheal diseases: every year, 2 million people die because of unsafe drinking water, lack of sanitation and hygiene.
  • Cholera: more than 50 countries still report cases of cholera to WHO.
  • Cancer and tooth/bone lesions: millions of people are exposed to harmful levels of arsenic and fluoride, naturally present in the environment.
  • Schistosomiasis: there are an estimated 260 million infected persons.
  • Emerging issues: waste water is being increasingly recycled in the agriculture. It represents both a promising source of income but also a significant risk for public health.

Improving Water Quality

Good practices are well known and can be implemented cost effectively. Below is a list of simple actions. Let us make them happen fast:

  • Improving water distribution, sanitation and hygiene would reduce the burden of diseases by 4% worldwide!
  • Developing best practices on data reporting about improvement of water quality to leverage as much as possible their positive impact on health.
  • Reinforce tools and procedures aiming to improve and protect water quality in cities and communities, for example by implementing water safety plans.
  • Use simple and cheap methods at home for water treatment and storage.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Information

A Step Further :