Safe water, basic toilets and good hygiene are essential to child survival and development. A lack of these puts the lives of many children in Myanmar at risk.
Though there have been improvements in recent years, Myanmar struggles to provide basic water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, especially to areas affected by extreme poverty, conflict and natural disasters.
Evidence also suggests that 50 per cent of schools and over half of health facilities significantly lack WASH services and the systems to effectively track them.
25 per cent of children (over 4 million) live in households that do not use improved toilet facilities.
Inadequate facilities in schools contribute to lower attendance and achievement. Health facilities that lack proper sanitation infrastructure and training on infection struggle to provide quality services.
The lack of basic WASH facilities hampers Myanmar’s effort to reduce child and maternal mortality and illness; it also impedes efforts to reduce stunting which affects 32 per cent of children in rural areas and 20 per cent in urban centres. Women and girls face extra challenges, especially without private facilities during their periods.
Though rural areas are most affected, Myanmar’s fast-growing urban centres — magnets for migration — are also struggling to match the needs for water and sanitation.