Water, sanitation and hygiene
Every child should have equal access to water, sanitation and hygiene.
Burundi is one of the few countries in which access to basic sanitation in urban areas is lower than in rural areas; Although 81 per cent of the population (78 per cent rural; 98 per cent urban) has had access to improved sources of drinking water in 2017, only 61 per cent of the population could obtain safe drinking water within a 30-minute round-trip from their households. Access to basic sanitation remains limited: only 46 per cent of the population (46 per cent rural; 42 per cent urban) were having access to at least basic sanitation facilities against 45 percent in 2000. Overall, the main barriers to access to basic sanitation services include low quality of sanitation infrastructure, lack of maintenance of existing infrastructure, and difficulty sustaining community mobilization to achieve open defecation-free (ODF) status.
While the proportion of the population using surface water has fallen to 5 per cent, the proportion resorting to unimproved sources remains at 15 per cent in rural areas. The main obstacle to accessing safe drinking water in rural areas is the shortage in service coverage. The lack of water points in public facilities, including schools and health centres, remains widespread: more than half of schools lack water points (MoE 2015-16) and, in rural areas, only 70 per cent of health facilities have access to an improved water source within a distance of 500 meters (MoH 2017).
To address the issue of open defecation in rural areas, UNICEF supports the Government of Burundi in scaling up community-led total sanitation coverage (CLTS).
In 2018, 528 new sub-hills were evaluated as open defecation free (ODF), bringing the total number of people living in certified ODF communities to 639,990. The ODF status contributes to improved environmental hygiene and reduces the risk of cholera outbreaks.
UNICEF supports the Ministry of Health in activities to prevent epidemics: distribution of hand-washing stations and soap, hygiene promotion, access to water supply and distribution of household water treatment products are part of the response against cholera.
Now, millions of people can be reached with key good hygiene practices through mass media including television, radio campaigns and newspaper messages.
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