By Cheki Abuje
The Africa Medical Relief Foundation (Amref) has called on Sub-Saharan Africa to invest more in sanitation to save mother and children mortality.
Speaking to Africa Science News during World Toilet Day in western region of Kenya, Amref Health Africa Country Director Dr. Meshack Ndirangu said mother and children are a vulnerable segment due to poor sanitation and need equality and dignity as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goal No.7.
The World Toilet Day is a United Nation’s event marked annually to celebrate the milestones achieved in addressing sanitation issues in local communities. This year’s theme is “Equality, Dignity and the link between Gender based violence and Sanitation”
Lack of proper sanitation has dire consequences on human health, dignity and security, environment and socio-economic development.
Study by Amref Africa health CEO Dr. Githinji Gitahi shows that Kenya spends US$324million annually through direct cost of treating sanitation related illnesses, where 1dollar spent on water and sanitation generates 4.3dollars.
Safe water, hygiene and sanitation are key in ensuring the safety of women and children across African continent, observes WASH program manager in Kenya Dr. George Kimathi.
Dr. Kimathi challenged African governments, development partners and the private sector to increase investment in sanitation to not less than 10 percent of their Gross National income to WASH.
However, according to Amref, sub-Saharan Africa has done little towards addressing safe sanitation. Research shows that safe sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 30 percent, translating to 4 percent increase since 1990.
Dr. Meshack however, noted that Amref Africa health is committed to improving the health of not only Kenyans but entire continent in combating sanitation related hazards by empowering local communities
Remarked country director “Amref will endeavor promote sustainable integrated approach to improve health through better sanitation and hygiene in rural communities”.
majority of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to basic sanitation facilities and engage in unhygienic practices inclusive of open defecation and inappropriate disposal of solid wastes, resulting into disease that endanger women and children health.
Dr. Meshack remarked that for Kenya to achieve total defecation free status, a whooping Ksh. 1.5 billion is needed with more than 1million latrines required across the country.
Amref health Africa is partnering with FINISH INK, KAVES and GSF towards sustainable sanitation for healthy nations.