Sir George met with representatives of WaterAid at Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to discuss the international water and sanitation crisis that is taking the lives of 4,000 children every day. The local MP also took the opportunity to hear first hand what WaterAid is doing to help address this crisis through its work.
“Many of my constituents asked me to visit the stand in Manchester so I went along. A lack of clean drinking water is having a devastating impact across the globe. More children die in sub-Saharan Africa every year because of diseases brought about by unsafe water and poor sanitation than are killed because of AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
According to the World Health Organisation, for every £1 invested in water, sanitation and hygiene, there is an economic return of £8, mainly through time savings and reducing productive days lost to illness. Hygiene promotion is considered one of the most cost-effective of any health interventions. The benefits of bringing these services to communities include more children, particularly girls, able to attend schools as they aren’t busy collecting water and fewer patients for family members, doctors and nurses to treat.
Barbara Frost, Chief Executive of WaterAid said: “It’s staggering that more than 1 in 3 people don’t have a toilet and one in eight doesn’t have clean water. As well as the tragic human cost in lives lost and poor health, this tragedy is holding back economic growth in countries across the world. This is why we are so pleased that Sir George has taken the time to learn more about these issues and how we want to work with the Government to tackle them”.
Since WaterAid was founded 30 years ago, it has reached nearly 16 million people with safe water and 11 million with sanitation.
“David Cameron rightly highlighted in a recent trip to Africa that we need to get Africa’s economy growing. I was particularly inspired to learn from WaterAid that every one pound invested in water and sanitation generates an economic return of eight pounds. Poor sanitation costs Sub-Saharan Africa around 5% of its GDP every year, equivalent to the amount of aid the continent currently receives from western nations. If we solved this crisis, it would be a major spur to growth in African economies, making investment in water, sanitation and hygiene a good value investment that works for the world’s poorest.”
The UK Government last year directly provided 1.5 million people with access to clean drinking water and 800,000 with sanitation.
Note to editors:
WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 26 countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Over the past 30 years, WaterAid has reached 14.38 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 9.4 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @wateraid on Twitter or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid
• At least 4,000 children die every day as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.
• 883 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world's population.
• 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is 39% of the world's population.
• For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, £8 is returned in increased productivity.
• Just £15 can enable one person to access safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.