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African countries to scale up progress in water, others – UNICEF

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African countries to scale up progress in water, others – UNICEF

By  Njadvara MUSA, Maiduguri

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Marie-Pierre Poirier has declared that equitable access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is not only the foundation of health; but and development for children and communities.

According to her, water is life and a means to development to restore peace in Africa.

The UNICEF/WHO report released, yesterday (Tuesday) at the World Water Forum, Dakar, Senegal, said: “In a time when water scarcity fuels conflicts and water points are targeted, UNICEF calls for urgent actions.

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Poirier said that African countries need water, sanitation and hygiene in schools, particularly for girls who may miss school because there are no toilets or are engaged in fetching water.

She stated that women and children need safe access to water and sanitation.

The report also added that climate change, however; puts additional pressure on human and capital resources.

“Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets on water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa will require a dramatic acceleration in the current rates of progress,” said the report.

It, therefore, called for urgent action to be taken; where water scarcity and weak sanitation and hygiene services can threaten both peace and development.

She added that achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) targets in Africa will require a 12-fold increase in current rates of progress on safely managed drinking water.

Besides, the report said: “A 20-fold increase for safely managed sanitation and a 42-fold increase for basic hygiene services are required to scale up the progress in water, sanitation and hygiene sectors.

She noted that significant inequalities persist within countries including among urban and rural, sub-national regions, the richest and poorest countries.

Citing the urban centres, he said: “Forty per cent of the people lack safely managed drinking water, while two out of three people also lack safely managed sanitation.

 

She lamented that 50% of the population of African countries lack basic hygiene services. “About 80% of the population in Africa is denied safely managed drinking water, with 60 per cent and 70%  of the people lack safely managed sanitation and basic hygiene services respectively.

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