Sanitation, Health and Environmental Situation
prepared by Dr. Abdoulaye Fall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Peri-urban and rural areas are not or less well equipped in terms of water and sanitation services. If some progress is being made in the water supply sector, for sanitation a big challenge remains. Globally, rural sanitation coverage is still less than half the urban coverage. On-site sanitation is often the first option when considering sanitation interventions in West African countries. As results of its research programme in several countries in West and Central Africa, CREPA has shown that 75-100% of the population in these areas use on-site sanitation. Access to basic sanitation services is inadequate in the region. The root cause seems to be financial and technological. In its recent report, the Joint Monitoring Program highlights that all West African countries are not on track to achieving the MDGs on water and sanitation (Table 4A and 4B), even if most of them have realised significant progress. Household connections still remain very low (less than 10%) in the majority of these countries. In rural areas, where the situation is worse, the best sanitation coverage rises to 46% (Equatorial Guinea and Gambia). Table 4 (A and B) shows a decrease of coverage in both water supply and sanitation areas in some countries including Liberia, Togo, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. This is partly explained by wars or political troubles that these countries faced.
The development activities of humans have produced negative impacts on water resources, health and the environment. The contamination of water resources is increasing through industrial pollution, poor sanitation practices, discharges of untreated sewage, etc. As a consequence, high concentrations of pollutants exceed the ability of rivers to assimilate them. In turn water-related diseases appear and become widespread, leading to the death of millions, in particularly children under five years of age . Climate variability also increases vector-borne disease outbreaks (e.g. malaria) and the incidence of diarrhoeal disease during the rainy season .