Sanitation issues affecting economies of developing nations

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NEW DELHI: Inadequate sanitation is affecting the economies of South-East Asian countries and improving the same would be an effective way to reduce these losses, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Tuesday.

toilet sanitation summit logo“Every dollar spent on sanitation yields about $9 in savings on treatment, health care costs and gains from more productive days,” Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director for WHO South-East Asia region said in a message on World Toilet Day.

Khetrapal Singh said the current Ebola crisis in West Africa demonstrates the enormous importance of adequate sanitation, water and hygiene services in preventing disease outbreaks and infection control.

“We must learn from this tragic crisis. A major study of 2006 data estimated that in India, inadequate sanitation amounted to a loss equivalent to about 6.4 percent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) – greater than the GDP of all but five states in India,” she added.

A recent WHO study indicated that in 2012 in the South-East Asia region, 123,300 diarrhoea deaths were estimated to be caused by inadequate sanitation and 131,500 by inadequate hand-washing practices.

(Agency, 18 November 2014)

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