Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were established at a United Nations Conference in 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. SDG target 6.1focused on achieving universal and equitable access to affordable drinking by 2030. Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) program was established with a focus to improve hygiene and sanitation practices in households. The UNICEF and World Health Organization (WHO) is worried that countries are lagging in achieving the SDG WASH targets.
What Is The WASH Program?
The WASH program is designed to offer long-term prevention measures for promoting health, lowering poverty, promoting socio-economic development, responding to global outbreaks and emergencies of life-threatening illnesses. For instance, the majority of the households in Africa, and Asia are grappling with poor sanitation-related diseases such as diarrheoa. According to an article submitted to Environmental Health Insights written by Zemichael Gizaw, and Addisu Ayenew, WASH programs can help to reduce the number of diarrhea-related cases estimated at being 1.5 million every year.
According to the UNICEF website, billions of people worldwide cannot access safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services making it hard to achieve the 2030 goals set for water to be accessible by all. UNICEF and WHO believe that nations need to quadruple their efforts if these goals are to be achieved by 2030.
According to a Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report, access to basic drinking water has increased from 71% reported in 2015 to 74% in 2020 especially in fragile countries. However, achieving universal access will require collaborative efforts by all nations. Access to basic hygiene services increased from 48% in 2015 to 48% in 2020, but at the rate of this progress, only 58% of the population in fragile contexts will achieve this goal by 2030. 1 in 4 people in 2020 lacked safe drinking water and only half of the world population had access to safely managed sanitation. The COVID-19 pandemic brought out the need for urgent access to good hand hygiene.
In conclusion, the statistics are worrying, and nations must do more to improve access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene if the 2030 goals are to become a reality.