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Millions more people to gain access to sanitation in next decade

Updated: Mar 25, 2021


African Development Bank
Over the next decade or so investments in the water sector are set to provide about 154 million more people access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene. PHOTO: ImageCollab

Over 40% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to clean water and are unable to take the advice of health experts to wash their hands as a primary way to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, over the next decade or so investments in the water sector by the African Development Bank and partners are set to provide about 154 million more people access to improved water, sanitation and hygiene, according to Wambui Gichuri, acting vice president of Agriculture, Human and Social Development and director of Water Development and Sanitation at the bank. Gichuri says the bank has been supporting and advocating WASH long before the arrival of COVID-19, making an investment of about $6.4 billion to strengthen core water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure systems over the last decade. She says this has provided approximately 52 million additional people with access to improved water, sanitation, hygiene and enabled increased pandemic preparedness. “Providing access to clean water, improved sanitation systems and implementing healthy hygiene practices lowers the infection rate and builds the ability of communities to ward off infectious disease outbreaks. Investments in improved water and sanitation infrastructure is a public health priority for countries and communities as it significantly contributes to reduced mortality, ill health and impacts of water-related epidemics/pandemics which are a major economic drain,” says the vice president. Gichuri says the bank’s guide on WASH interventions is currently helping governments in their COVID-19 preparedness and emergency response supporting implementation of emergency WASH interventions at hotspots, utilities and service providers. She says this enhances business continuity, promotes hygiene, improves viability of hyg