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UNICEF and Holding Company for Water and Sanitation join forces to promote sanitary behavioral practices









Clean Water = Healthy Life

Cairo, 22 March 2010- In celebration of World Water Day on March 22, UNICEF and the Holding Company for Water and Sanitation joined forces to launch the “Clean Water = Healthy Life” media campaign to promote sanitary behavioral practices.
“For the past 40 years, UNICEF has been supporting the improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene worldwide,” said UNICEF Egypt Representative Erma Manoncourt. “This long-standing support stems from a firm conviction, based on evidence, that these interventions are essential factors to ensure the rights of children to survive, grow and develop into healthy and productive citizens.”

Together, poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitation contribute to 88 percent of all deaths from diarrheal diseases. According to the latest World Health Organization-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme Report, Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water, this toll is especially high on children, as diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of under-five child mortality, accounting for 4000 deaths a day globally. In Egypt, about 20 percent of children under-five suffer from diarrheal diseases.

"A drop of potable and clean water equals a healthy life,” said Egyptian actor and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Khaled Abol Naga, who presented the public service announcements for the campaign. “And a drop of contaminated water leads only to sickness.”

UNICEF has worked closely with the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater to reach rural, deprived communities with access to safe drinking water and sanitation by providing revolving fund loans to enable them to obtain household water connections. To date, more than 400,000 rural Egyptians have benefited from access to water in their homes, and 80,000 Egyptians have constructed sanitation facilities in thirteen districts in Upper Egypt.

“We are a country below the water poverty line,” said Minister of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development Ahmed El Maghrabi. “We must change our culture of ‘water is available in plenty’ in collaboration with civil society organizations and the media.”
Chairman of the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater Abdel Qawi Khalifa echoed El Maghrabi’s concerns about the quality and use of water.
“Water services cover almost the whole of Egypt, but the challenge now is access to sanitation services. Therefore, over the past three years, the government has appropriated investments up to three times those previously channelled to this sector,” he said.



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