Bringing Water And Sanitation To Ethiopian Children
By Conrad Person, Johnson & Johnson, New Jersey Council for the Humanities, Creative Writing, Parenting, ACCP, PQMD, Head Start
This blog was co-authored with Teshome Lemma, Program Coordinator for Water Sanitation & Hygiene at CARE Ethiopia.
Whether you live in the United States or in Ethiopia, sanitation and proper hygiene is an issue that affects you, but in Ethiopia, the lack of convenient water sources can make the difference between life and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unsafe drinking water, inadequate availability of water for hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to about 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases, or more than 1.5 million of the 1.9 million children younger than five years of age who perish from diarrhea each year, mostly in developing countries. This amounts to 18% of all the deaths of children under the age of five and means that more than 5,000 children are dying every day as a result of diarrheal diseases. Water and sanitation-related diseases, particularly diarrhea, are among the top three causes of death in Ethiopia.
Health indicators clearly show that Ethiopia has serious problems in the areas of primary health care and disease prevention. Very high infant and child mortality rates, a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and low life expectancy point to a lack of basic services and under-developed infrastructure. Water and sanitation-related diseases, are among the top three causes of death in the country after malaria and HIV/AIDS. According to Demographic and Health Survey data for children under five in the Amhara region, 51.8 percent are malnourished; stunting affects 57 percent; and severe stunting affects 29 percent. In the Amhara region's South Gondar zone, access to safe water is still not assured for many households and a lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices contribute significantly to children's ill health and constrained opportunities.