“The population’s access to portable water, good sanitation and hygiene in Sierra Leone is still below the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target of 75% to be achieved by 2015. Yet, this I believe, Sierra Leone can achieve within the set time by 2015″.
This was disclosed yesterday by Ibrahim Kamara, Health Advisor Plan Sierra Leone in a press conference at the Grassroots Gender Empowerment hall at John Street in Freetown.
He added that with the MDGs target on sanitation, the global coverage should be at least 75% by 2015, adding that this would mean an additional 1.6 billion people would have to be provided with sanitation systems.
The health advisor maintained that meeting the MDG target would avert 391 million cases of diarrhea per year, noting further that health gains from sanitation were incorporated in existing economic analysis which showed that every United States dollar invested in sanitation would give a return of about nine United States dollars.
Mr Kamara pointed out that, “water, sanitation and hygiene have important impacts on both health and diseases”.
He revealed that official statistics from World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF suggested that about 3.8 billion people (60%) in 2004 had access to “improved” sanitation globally. The health advisor accentuated that the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) was coordinating the international year of sanitation, in broad partnership with stakeholders including UN agencies, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), the private sector and academia, to raise awareness and to accelerates progress on sanitation.
An action, Mr Kamara said, had been prepared to outline the contributions and inputs of the UN agencies and partners to the International Year of Sanitation. “The action plan includes activities to raise awareness, release new and updated publications, advocate, monitor and access the commitments, advance implementation, strengthen capacities and evaluate costs and benefits,” he maintained. He echoed that, “the MDGs have set us on a common course to push back poverty, inequality, hunger and illness”.