October 15th, 2012

Washing Up – and Saving Lives by the Millions

Today, around 2.6 billion people still lack access to decent sanitation (aka toilets). One billion people defecate in the open, if that can be imagined in the 21st century. As a result, kids by the millions die each year of water-borne diseases causing diarrhea as human waste commingles with the water supply. Similarly, lack of decent hygiene causes pneumonia, another major killer of children under five. At the start of the new millennium, world leaders promised to cut by half the proportion of people without decent sanitation, and to reduce child mortality by two thirds, all by 2015. We’re determined to help the world keep its promises.

Ho-hum, will say the cynics. More empty promises. In discouraging moments, we sometimes feel the same way. But the evidence is actually to the contrary: promises and goals can make a difference. The numbers of young children dying each year is actually falling, and falling fast, because the world is stepping up the fight for good health. In 1990, 12.5 million kids under five died, almost all of preventable or treatable diseases — in other words for stupid and unnecessary reasons. By 2010, the number of deaths had declined to 7.6 million. Yes, we agree, 7.6 million is still far too many. Nonetheless there is progress, and realistic hope for much more!

Read full article at the Huffington Post


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