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 :