Developing strategies to end hunger
 

The Benefits of Clean Water

Two article caught my attention today reminding me of the importance of clean water. The first describes eight recent deaths in coastal Kenya caused by Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD). My colleagues from PATH blogged about Diarrheal Disease last week. The deaths were attributed to "poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water following heavy rain in most parts of the province which has destroyed sewage pipes and swept away pit latrine." The sharp increase in AWD shows just how fragile access to clean water is in Kenya and many other developing countries.

The second story describes how relief donations to internally displaced people in Pakistan include infant formula. While formula can be good for infants, when it is mixed with unclean water the consequences can be severe and even deadly. The inclusion of formula in the relief packages being provided to internally displaced persons has raised significant concerns among health professionals who worry that it sends the wrong message about appropriate feeding practices (running counter to efforts to encourage breastfeeding for example) and will also undoubtedly lead to more sick children as basic sanitation has been compromised or does not exist at all in the camps.

Both these stories highlight just how important clean water is to health and nutrition. Over at the One Campaign, signatures are being collected for Petition asking Congress to support the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2009. The Bill authorizes funding to create sustainable access to clean water for millions of people around the world. It is one part of what is needed in order to create an integrated strategy for addressing the needs of poor and hungry children around the world.

 

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