AfricaSan 3, the Third African Conference on Hygiene and Sanitation, currently being held (19-21 July) in Kigali, Rwanda, is being attended by several hundred ministers and decision-makers from 50 African countries; representatives from international agencies, academia, and the press; and delegates from Asian and South American countries. The stated goal of this meeting is “to get Africa on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation.”
Currently, only four African countries are on target to meet the sanitation MDG (#7c, to halve the proportion of people globally without access to basic sanitation by 2015). Diarrhea, which is largely transmitted by orofecal routes, kills over a million children each year around the world and makes even more ill – sometimes repeatedly so over a life span. Adequate sanitation, hygiene, and water quality will improve rates of sickness and death due to waterborne diseases.
· A key issue to be discussed at AfricaSan 3 is the 2008 eThekwini Declaration, signed by 19 African countries, to direct attention and political support to the issue of sanitation and hygiene.
· The UN recently launched Sustainable Sanitation: Five-Year Drive to 2015 as part of the accelerated effort being made to reach this MDG.
· See other Speaking of Medicine posts on this topic, for example “MDG 7c: The Sanitation Goal Is in the Toilet.”