Humans love options, and having a preference is in our nature. So why wouldn't it be the same when it comes to faucets and toilets? In our work across nine countries around the world providing access to safe water and sanitation, our team at Water For People knows that innovation is key and one solution does not fit all.
It is evident that WASH interventions have a multiplier effect and positively impact other health issues and development goals. As the window to achieve the MDGs comes to a close this year and we grow closer to confirming the goals and targets that will shape the next 15 years, we must emphasize the important synergies between WASH and the control and elimination of NTDs.
What does the water in your glass have to do with the health of mothers and babies around the globe? Quite a lot actually. Without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation -- like safe toilet facilities -- women face dangerous health risks in pregnancy, during childbirth and in the postpartum period.
Water is life, and sanitation and hygiene are the basis of health. Yet worldwide, 748 million people don't have access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people don't have basic sanitation. Each MDG can be advanced by greater inclusion of proper WASH practices, and there is more work to be done.
In Haiti, 3.5 million people lack access to safe water. For most families, it is the responsibility of the women and children to find and collect it. Haiti is not unique in this tradition: Women and children from around the world collectively spend 140 million hours walking more than three miles to collect water each day.