This paper draws on authoritative medical, academic and grassroots sources to assert that without sanitation in place we will fail to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) across large parts of the developing world. Millions of lives are being lost because of governments' and the aid community's blindspot when it comes to sanitation.
- Diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kill around 1.4 million children a year, more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
- In Africa, diarrhoea is now the biggest killer of children, claiming the lives of almost one in five children before their fifth birthday.
- Without sanitation, safe water and good hygiene practices, patients with already lowered immune systems have their recovery and survival chances radically reduced, particularly those living with HIV/AIDS.
- Diseases related to unsafe sanitation and water and poor hygiene place a huge burden on under-resourced health systems: at any one time half the hospital beds in developing countries are filled with people suffering from diarrhoea.