For the majority of Liberians, ground water fetched from wells, streams, or rivers remain the primary source of drinking water. The health hazard associated with un-purified ground water is well documented.
Waterborne bacteria cause diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid fever among other diseases. Among the young, elderly and also increasingly among adults, these conditions are often fatal. In fact, unsafe drinking water is one of the major causes of infant mortality in
Impact on Children: According to UNICEF, consuming contaminated water or not having access to clean water causes over 80% of all illnesses in developing countries. Water-related and waterborne diseases are caused by swallowing contaminated water, with diarrhea being the most common of all waterborne diseases. Nearly 90% of deaths from diarrhea-related diseases in children below 5 years old are due to unsafe water and sanitation in the developing world. More than 1.5 million children under the age of 5 die from diarrhea annually because they either consumed unsafe drinking water or do not have adequate availability of water for hygiene purposes.
Girls Are Affected More: Women and girls are often responsible for fetching water. Many travel almost 4 miles to reach a water source, which prevents them from engaging in more productive activities such as attending school. Women and girls are considered the water haulers of the world. In many places where water is not easily available, the burden falls on girls and women to obtain the family daily supply of water. Boys are often exempt from this activity so that they can attend school. Access to clean water and safe and sanitary hygiene facilities has a special impact on the long-term health and education prospects for girls and women. Sometimes girls do not attend school because there is no private place for personal hygiene needs.
Children and women are the cornerstone of human progress. When children are sick, out of school, and performing labor-intensive tasks, nations suffer. Without safe water and sanitation, sustainable development is impossible. Focusing on water and sanitation saves lives, reduces diseases, promotes gender equality and improves the overall quality of life and potential for everyone, especially the world children.