The sanitation problem: What can and should the health sector do?
Half of the people living in developing countries do not have access to even a basic toilet. This presents a major risk to public health. Diseases attributable to poor sanitation currently kill more children globally than AIDS, malaria and measles put together, and diarrhoea is the single biggest killer of children in Africa. Safe sanitation is widely acknowledged to be an essential foundation for better health, welfare and economic productivity, but progress in reducing the burden of sanitation related diseases borne by poor people in developing countries remains slow and is holding back progress on all other development outcomes.
This report concludes that improved collaboration between WASH and health sectors is key to improving sanitation related health outcomes. It shows that health systems have a critical role to play in promoting sanitation but that existing health sector involvement is frequently sub-optimal. It makes a series of recommendations for health sector stakeholders interested in accelerating progress on sanitation and securing related health gains in developing countries.