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Water, Sanitation and Health in Developing Countries: How Far from Sustainable Development?

Authors: May A. Massoud


The availability of water in adequate quantity and quality is imperative for sustainable development. Worldwide, significant imbalance exists with regards to sustainable development particularly from a water and sanitation perspective. Water is a critical component of public health, and failure to supply safe water will place a heavy burden on the entire population. Although the 21st century has witnessed wealth and advanced development, it has not been realized everywhere. Billions of people are still striving to access the most basic human needs which are food, shelter, safe drinking water and adequate sanitation. The global picture conceals various inequalities particularly with regards to sanitation coverage in rural and urban areas. Currently, water scarcity and in particular water governance is the main challenge which will cause a threat to sustainable development goals. Within the context of water, sanitation and health, sustainable development is a confusing concept primarily when examined from the viewpoint of policy options for developing countries. This perspective paper aims to summarize and critically evaluate evidence of published studies in relation to water, sanitation and health and to identify relevant solutions to reduce public health impacts. Evidently, improving water and sanitation services will result in significant and lasting gains in health and economic development.

Keywords: developing countries, health, sanitation, sustainability, water

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