Environmental Health

Hapsatou Ka is a USAID-trained, community-based solution provider in Senegal. She teaches local children the importance of sanitation by washing their hands prior to eating lunch.
Hapsatou Ka is a USAID-trained, community-based solution provider in Senegal. She teaches local children the importance of sanitation by washing their hands prior to eating lunch.
Photo credit: Morgana Wingard/USAID

Women and girls without access to toilets spend 97 billion hours each year looking for a place to relieve themselves, translating into 97 billion hours of lost productivity.

Currently, 2.1 billion people live without access to safe drinking water, and approximately 4.4 billion people are without access to adequate sanitation. By 2050, some regions could see their economic growth decline by as much as six percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a result of water pollution, increasing water demand, and three dwindling water supplies, which could significantly increase state fragility and the risk of failure.

As a result of USAID programs in Fiscal Year 2016, more than 3.1 million people received sustainable access to an improved water supply, and more than 3 million people received improved access to sanitation facilities. These results include more than 500,000 women and girls benefiting from improved water services and more than 1.8 million women and girls gaining access to improved sanitation. USAID managed these and other accomplishments through a wide variety of initiatives in 47 countries and regions, guided by the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy.

USAID's Response

  • Acute lower respiratory infections, mainly pneumonia, are the leading infectious cause of death among children under-5 and are closely associated with exposure to indoor smoke from cooking with biomass fuels. USAID supports operational research to better understand adoption and use issues related to improved cookstoves to reduce indoor air pollution.
  • Diarrhea, another leading killer of children, is largely caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. USAID supports local governments and stakeholders to apply evidence-based approaches to strengthen the systems that provide WASH services to households and in institutional settings such as safe household drinking water supply, community-led total sanitation, market-based sanitation, and hygiene social and behavior change.
  • Neglected Tropical Diseases affect over 1 billion people, causing chronic disability and death. Water, sanitation, and hygiene are integral to the control, prevention, and elimination of these diseases. USAID supports the adoption of evidence-based hygiene behaviors to reduce mortality in both rural and urban populations at the greatest risk of mortality from water-borne disease.
  • Malaria prevention efforts and USAID’s integrated vector management [PDF, 10MB] system strengthens our ability to combat malaria and improve environmental health by combining both approaches into a single effort.

USAID's Impact

 

Resources

For more information about how USAID solves global water and sanitation challenges, visit Global Waters. Supported by the USAID Water Office, Global Waters has the aim of fostering global knowledge and collaboration for sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene access for all, and providing water practitioners with the latest news, learnings, and resources from USAID and our partners.

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Last updated: October 25, 2018

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