|New latrines for schools in Mozambique are installed with UNICEF support.|
MAPUTO, 30 August 2004 – Installing latrines in a school might not seem to be a significant step for protecting children, but in fact it is. Building latrines in schools will increase the likelihood that children will use the latrines instead of open fields that may be close to drinking water sources – thereby helping preserve drinking water quality.
Maintaining clean drinking water is one of the fundamental approaches in UNICEF’s work for reducing child deaths. A staggering number of children die from diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases. Each year, there are an estimated 20,000 child deaths from such maladies in Mozambique alone.
“This equates to more than 50 children lost every day. We cannot accept this,” said Dr. Gloria Kodzwa, UNICEF’s Senior Programme Officer in Mozambique. Together with the European Union and other partners, UNICEF is supporting the Mozambique government's efforts in improving sanitation facilities in order to reduce water-related morbidity and mortality.
According to data from the National Statistics Institute, in 2000/2001, only 26% of the rural population in Mozambique had access to protected water sources, and only 29% had access to a proper latrine. In combination with the high level of poverty, prevention measures against these 'external shocks' can only be built slowly.
Every additional school equipped with latrines means another step towards preventing unnecessary child deaths from water-borne disease.
World facing silent emergency as billions struggle without clean water and basic sanitation
Bad water kills 4,000 children a day