Water quality deterioration in distribution systems, mainly caused by inappropriate planning, design and construction or inadequate operation and maintenance and water quality control, has been linked to a significant proportion of the burden of waterborne and water-related illness.
8 May 2014 -- Even though progress towards the MDG target represents important gains in access for billions of people around the world, it has been uneven. Sharp geographic, sociocultural and economic inequalities in access persist and sometimes have increased. A new report "Progress on drinking water and sanitation: update 2014" presents examples of unequal progress among marginalized and vulnerable groups.
Global burden of disease: impacts of poor water, sanitation and hygiene
6 May 2014 – WHO and 14 collaborating research institutions have estimated that 842,000 diarrhoea deaths in low- and middle- income countries can be attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene. This amounts to 1.5% of the total disease burden and 58% of diarrhoeal diseases.
- Fact sheet on arsenic in drinking-water
- Fact sheet on dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)
- Fact file on sanitation and health
- Information sheets on water-related diseases
Preventing environmental health related disease in health care and other settings
Ensuring safe drinking-water
Monitoring water and sanitation for evidence-based policy and intervention
Preventing sanitation-related disease
WHO works on aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene where the health burden is high, where interventions could make a major difference and where the present state of knowledge is poor. Our work is divided into six core activities:
- Drinking-water quality management
- Water supply and sanitation monitoring
- Cholera surveillance and prevention
- Water and sanitation in different settings
- Water resources management
- Other activities (including economic aspects, climate change, and the Millenium Development Goals).
Recent WSH publications
Water Safety in Distribution Systems
Toxic cyanobacteria in water
Management of solid health-care waste at primary health-care centres
Updated WHO/WEDC Technical Notes on WASH in Emergencies
Safe management of wastes from healthcare activities - Second edition
Progress on sanitation and drinking-water