This report summarizes the results of a study that looked at the burden of disease caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene in 145 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). It confirms that lack of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene remains one of the world's most urgent health issues. Despite progress, many people still suffer illness or death associated with absence of appropriate services, and inadequate hygiene practices add to that burden.
- Direct use of drinking-water from unimproved sources (without household water treatment) ranged from 3 to 38 percent by region, with an overall average of 12 percent among LMICs.
- A modest reduction in diarrhoea (e.g. 11 to 16 percent) can be achieved through use of basic improved water or sanitation facilities, such as protected wells or improved latrines.
- Diarrhoea can be reduced significantly if water quality can be ensured up to the point-of-consumption.
- A total of 842,000 deaths in LMICs are caused by inadequate WASH, representing 58 percent of total diarrhoeal deaths, and 1.5 percent of the total disease burden.
- Diarrhoeal deaths among children under five more than halved from 1.5 million in 1990 to 622,000 in 2012. Inadequate WASH accounted for 361,000 of these deaths, or over 1,000 child deaths per day.