It is said access to safe water and sanitation turns poverty into opportunities. Sanitation and provision of clean drinking water are key to empowering people. Apart from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the main agenda is to improve the well being of individuals and promotes social development.
Why is Sanitation so important? Sanitation is defined as conditions relating to public health, especially the provision of clean drinking water and adequate sewerage disposal. Sanitation aims to protect human health by providing a clean environment that will stop the transmission of disease, especially through the fecal-oral route. Diseases like Cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio are linked to poor sanitation.
People who do not have access to clean safe drinking water have a high likelihood of getting water that is contaminated; from ponds, shallow wells, rivers and vandalized pipes. According to UNICEF approximately 80% of hospital attendance in Kenya is due to preventable diseases and 50 % of these are water, sanitation and hygiene related. Dwellers in the arid, semi-arid, rural and informal settlements of Kenya are the most affected with lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
Sanitation contributes to social and economic development of the society. Improved sanitation also helps create physical environments that are clean and safe with dignity and bringing joy. Clean drinking water and good sanitation would prevent infections that become severe to a point of causing death. Therefore improving sanitation and provision of clean water would be a first step in reducing the impact of waterborne related diseases. Proper sanitation will also improve the number of students enrolled in schools; as some schools have a high number of students compared to the sanitation facilities available.
Access to clean water and sanitation would translate to numerous benefits like
High productivity of people
Reduction of waterborne diseases
Increase enrollment in schools and performance
Reduction in the health care cost
Increase life expectancy with reduced morbidity and child mortality
Reduced water treatment cost
Measures to provide Sanitation and clean water access should be deployed to curb the negative effects that escalate form lack of these essentials
. Clean water and good sanitation translates to productive people thus very vital. “Sanitation is a cornerstone of public health”, Dr. Margaret Chan-WHO Director General