Lack of Sanitation in Developing Countries

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Lack of Sanitation in Developing Countries

Water and sanitation is a key sector where much effort is needed in the world. Sanitation, an issue many overlook today, refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human waste and promoting hygienic conditions through services that improve water supplies. Today, over a third of the world's population lack access to adequate sanitation facilities (globalpovertyproject.com). This has been an underlying issue we have been struggling with for centuries and developing relevant infrastructure is a major challenge. One gram of feces can contain ten million viruses, one million bacteria, one thousand parasite cysts, and one hundred parasite eggs. Effective sanitation facilities are extremely important because lack of quality in these facilities leads to perpetuating disease and high rates of child mortality. In fact, sanitation is one of the world's leading cause of disease and child death. In order to address extreme poverty and global diseases, achievement of universal access to sanitation is necessary.

Many people in the United States, and other developed countries, overlook the issue of sanitation because these countries have access to well-equipped toilets and safe drinking water. In fact, three things most of the world cannot due include "…taking a hot shower, getting clean water from the tap, and flushing a toilet." (water.org) However, developing countries struggle in sanitation because installing a system requires more effort than just digging a hole in the ground. Design is not important, as long as the facilities dispose waste in a hygienic way. Human waste can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid, infections hepatitis, and diarrhea. Lack of safe drinking water is also an extremely large contributing factor to hindering the health of developing countries. Village communities will walk for miles in order to collect buckets of water for the entire family. The average American's five-minute shower uses more safe-drinking water than what a family would consume in one day in other developing countries. Public health worldwide can be improved when solutions to sanitation problems are found.

Diarrheal disease is just one in many big concerns caused by unsafe sanitation, water, and hygiene (Buttenheim). To us, it is known as a nuisance, but for millions of children in the developing world, diarrhea is a death sentence. Diarrhea is caused primarily by infectious pathogens excreted in the feces of infected humans. Acute diarrhea causes life-threatening dehydration, while chronic diarrhea can hinder growth and development by preventing absorption of nutrients. Alison M. Buttenheim, a sanitation researcher, proposes that improved sanitation affects child nutritional status by limiting exposure to diarrheal pathogens. One way this can be accomplished includes implementing hygienic child care practices and behaviors and availability.

Today, schools provide as a tool to demonstrate sanitation and treat the source of hygienic practices. Hygiene promotion programs teach students about dirt and disease and what can be done to improve health. 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation (water.org), which can easily be prevented by educating the community. The promotion of sanitation and hygiene has emerged as one of the most cost-effective possible interventions against waterborne diseases (Barreto). Construction and use of appropriate sanitary facilities such as hand washing stations, soap, and toilets, can be extremely effective in reducing the incidence of diarrhea (water.worldbank.org). Not only do schools provide an opportunity to enforce certain behaviors in children, schools also provide an arena where sanitation can be shown at its best. Simple habits such as hand washing with soap before eating and after using the restroom are engrained at a young age. Not only do these practices directly effect the children's lifestyles, but the...
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