Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
Children’s health and nutritional well-being are strongly linked to their access to safe water and proper sanitation and hygiene. Across Somalia, unpredictable rainfall patterns, ongoing conflict, and lack of maintenance of water sources and supply systems has resulted in only 45 per cent of the population having access to improved water sources and only a quarter of the population with improved sanitation facilities within 10 metres. Almost half the households take more than 30 minutes to collect water which determines the quantity of collected at a time. Water borne disease, such as diarrhoea, is the major cause of nearly one in five deaths (23 per cent) of children under five and is strongly correlated with child malnutrition, leading to both wasting and stunting.
Lack of sanitation, safe water facilities and services and poor hygiene are significant contributors to the high rates of disease in Somalia. A comprehensive approach to reducing malnutrition and disease must include increasing access to sanitation and safe water services and addressing hygiene behavior change. The mapping of access to water and sanitation taken from an analysis of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) data collected during FSNAU household surveys in 2009 and 2010 shows a close correlation between areas of high malnutrition and areas with poor access to water and sanitation. Frequently poor hygiene and sanitation practices combined with the use of unsafe water cause chronic and/or acute diarrhea. Integrated interventions which include nutrition and WASH components can help reduce the incidence of diarrhea.