Overview

Children in West and Central Africa

UNICEF in the region

Polio immunization

Maternal and newborn health

Nutrition

HIV/AIDS in the region

Education

Water and sanitation

Child protection

 

Water and sanitation

Children fetching water in a neighborhood in Brazzaville
© UNICEF/WCARO/2007/Helali
Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo

Overview

Water, sanitation and hygiene are key to child survival, development and growth.

Five years to the 2015 deadline for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the water and sanitation situation in West and Central Africa remains a major concern.

Despite the efforts made by some countries, approximately 155 million people in West and Central Africa – that is 39% of the population - are without access to safe drinking water and, current trends indicate that only seven countries will reach the MDG water target.

The situation of sanitation is even more worrying as 291 million people do not have access to improved sanitation, of which 101 million have access to no sanitation facilities at all, and no country is on track to achieve the MDG target for sanitation.

The implications of this situation for children are shocking: about half a million children die each year from water-borne diseases such as diarrhea – the second leading cause of child mortality in a region where two children out of ten die before their fifth birthday.

Resources on access to water and sanitation in West and Central Africa

Case studies on the European Commission-UNICEF partnership for water and sanitation:

Cote d'Ivoire [.pdf]

Burkina Faso [.pdf]

Combatting cholera

Read the recent WASH stories 

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Providing clean water and sanitation facilities to keep refugee camps disease-free
GADO REFUGEE CAMP, East region, Cameroon, August 2014 – Gado refugee camp is the biggest camp established for CAR refugees near Garoua Boulai since the start of their arrivals in January 2014. Home to around 15000 people, when viewed from far...

In Burkina Faso, simple and sustainable solutions for rural communities’ water needs
OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, 19 August 2014 – In Burkina Faso, thousands of children under 5 die from preventable causes such as diarrhoea, a leading killer of children in this West African nation. Access to clean water is crucial in preventing diarrhea...

 

 
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