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Improved Sanitation Facilities  

For MDG monitoring, an Improved Sanitation Facility is defined as one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact (WHO/UNICEF website 2010).

Improved sanitation facilities range from simple but protected pit latrines to flush toilets with a sewerage connection. To be effective, facilities must be correctly constructed and properly maintained (World Bank website 2010f).

Improved sanitation facilities in rural area.
Source: Tump 2007
( click to enlarge )

The World Health Organisation and UNICEF collaborate to monitor progress towards the MDGs for water supply and sanitation through the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). The JMP produces regular reports charting international and country specific progress in water and sanitation using data coming from national monitoring activities. The methods and indicators used to monitor this progress have been questioned, however they represent the only global approach to water and sanitation MDG monitoring that offers inter-country comparability.

JMP data indicates clearly that in all developing regions, sanitation provision lags far behind water supply (UNDP 2006).

Use of Improved Sanitation Facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa

Year

Total population (%)

Urban population (%)

Rural population (%)

1990

28

43

21

2000

29

43

23

2008

31

44

24

Source: WHO/UNICEF 2010

Angola

The latest statistics from the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), set-up by the WHO / UNICEF to monitor progress towards the water supply and sanitation Millennium Development Goals, shows that between 1990 and 2008 Angola has made significant progress in expanding basic sanitation services. In 1990, only 25 % of the population used improved sanitation facilities. By 2008, this had increased to 57 %, well above the regional average of 31% for sub-Saharan Africa (WHO/UNICEF 2008).

The dichotomy between the standard of living in rural and urban areas becomes obvious when comparing the 2008 data on urban versus rural access to sanitation. Only 18 % of the rural population in Angola is using improved sanitation facilities compared to 86 % in urban areas (WHO/UNICEF 2010).

Use of Improved Sanitation Facilities in Angola

Year

Total population (%)

Urban population (%)

Rural population (%)

1990

25

58

6

2000

40

70

11

2008

57

86

18

Source: WHO/UNICEF 2010

The considerable progress in access to improved urban sanitation reported by WHO / UNICEF, should however be considered with caution. There has certainly been progress (like through Luanda's Urban Poverty Programme LUPP and related spin-offs), although it remains to be confirmed if it is on this scale.

Namibia

According to the JMP figures shown below, progress in improved access to basic sanitation facilities seems to have been slow in the last two decades. Back in 1990, one in four Namibians had access to improved sanitation and 18 years later this applies to one in three. Sanitation coverage in rural areas lags far behind coverage in urban settings. Only 17 % of the rural population is using improved sanitation facilities compared to 60 % in urban areas.

Use of Improved Sanitation Facilities in Namibia

Year

Total population (%)

Urban population (%)

Rural population (%)

1990

25

66

9

2000

29

63

13

2008

33

60

17

Source: WHO/UNICEF 2010

Given Namibia’s positive record in terms of investment in public health – public spending on health care is among the highest on the African continent (UNDP 2010b) – this development must come as a surprise and the JMP figures may be considered with some caution.

In considering the JMP figures it should be remembered that these are based on feedback provided to the JMP through national monitoring activities and thus are a reflection of how good this monitoring is. It also makes it quite difficult to compare progress statistics between countries.

 

 



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