Your health:


Jayne Howarth
Today (March 22) is World Day for Water. Another “awareness” day, perhaps, but one that has significant global importance.

There are one billion people who do not have access to safe, clean water and every year, two million people, most of them children under the age of five, die from diarrhoea.

For women, the burden of having no or limited access to clean water is particularly great. In the main, they are the ones who have to walk miles to fetch supplies.

Unicef estimate that women in developing countries spent 72 per cent of their time finding water and carrying it back to their communities, compared with 14 per cent of men.

But this is just one aspect. There are a myriad other concerns.

It is estimated that about 44 million pregnant women in developing countries suffer from hookworm because of the lack of sanitation. Hookworm – a parasite that lives in the small intestine – is a major cause of maternal and child morbidity in the tropics and subtropics.

Unsurprisingly – as in western cultures – women in developing societies are the main carers.

But the health of millions of children is continuously threatened because they become ill from contact with excrement in their communities.

Having no latrines and no water are environmental hazards that threaten the health of communities, adding further to women’s already heavy workload.

In many cultures, women and girls with no access to a latrine have to wait until after dark to defecate in the communal facilities. Not only do they suffer discomfort from this, it can make them ill and there is an increased risk of assault when they walk to the outdoor toilet areas.

One of the main reasons that girls do not attend school, particularly during menstruation, is because of the lack of safe and private toilet facilities.

The provision of clean water in local communities is a crucial one for millions of girls and women. Not only do sanitation and clean water – two separate issues that are obviously closely linked – liberate them from the hardship of having to carry 20kgs of water for miles, it offers them dignity and safety.
Jayne Howarth

World Water Day

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do we, the western world, think that we will ever change the way other age old cultures treat their women?
And I can't help wondering, that with the absolute millions and millions of pounds that are raised numerous times a year in England alone for SPORT RELIEF, CHILDREN IN NEED and RED NOSE DAY to name but a few, why the problem of fresh water has not been solved by now most of the world over.

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