New research in this report, building on pioneering work from the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme, underscores the hidden costs of poor sanitation. Death and disease are tearing families apart. Children drop out of school and fail to reach their potential, especially young girls. The research shows how poor sanitation has a substantial impact on the economy. Countries with poor access to sanitation are losing significant proportions of their GDP – in India, this figure is over 5%.
With such significant social and economic costs associated with poor sanitation, the argument for addressing this challenge cannot be ignored. More investment is needed, not just in terms of capital investment, but also in terms of a broader dialogue and discussion among governments, international organizations and the private sector about the need to prioritize this urgent issue. The time for concerted, coordinated action is now.