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Africa

2012-06-27

AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Drinking water and sanitation: rural areas are more scarce and more prone to diseases

Addis Ababa (Agenzia Fides) - In Ethiopia just over half the population, a total of 83 million inhabitants, can now benefit from clean water and sanitation. According to experts of the World Bank's Ethiopia, although there has been an increase in the distribution, the number of people who still do not have access remains the highest in Africa, if not around the world. There are still many Ethiopians who are affected and die from diseases linked to this deficiency. According to recent research, in 2010 about 271 thousand Ethiopian children under 5 years of age died, over a third from pneumonia and diarrhea. The country is trying to reach the Millennium Development Goal of the United Nations on water, sanitation and hygiene, through the Universal Access Plan II, which will provide drinking water to 98.5% of the population and access to 100% health care by 2015.
At a national level, according to the Demographic Study on Health 2011, the percentage of Ethiopian families who need a source of drinking water (a public tap, pipes and safe wells or rain water) has reached 54%. However there are huge disparities between urban households, where 95% of people have access to a source of drinking water, and those who live in rural areas who are only 42%, as well as access to sanitation, which covers 56% of rural households and 88% of urban ones. Over 65 million people live in rural areas where trachoma is endemic, and urgent safety measures are needed to ensure health and hygienic conditions. Over 75% of the disease to the eye caused by trachoma are linked to lack of sanitation. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 27/6/2012)

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