Water and sanitation
Safe water, improved sanitation and good hygiene prevent illness and disease. UNICEF has assisted countries in making steady progress on expanding access to clean water and improved sanitation. Since 1990, the proportion of people in the region with improved sanitation has risen from 49% to 66% – but this still means that around 670 million people do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. On top of this, some 236 million people, or 12% of the total population, lack access to clean water. Differences in access to safe water and sanitation in the region reveal widening social gaps, with rural areas, urban slums and shantytowns lagging far behind.
UNICEF believes homes and communities are the starting point for improving water quality, sanitation and hygiene, and reducing child deaths from diarrhoea. With partners, UNICEF:
The Regional Office has helped countries in identifying contaminated groundwater and in preventing communities from using these as sources of drinking water while addressing strategies for both treatment and alternative safe water supplies and promoting safe sanitation practices.
UNICEF also takes the lead in providing water and sanitation during emergencies.
UNICEF in focus
UNICEF EAPRO. Strategy to improve child survival, growth and development for the most at-risk. 2005.