WaterAid calls for end to crisis that has claimed ten million child lives since 2000

Together with international health and development experts, we’re calling on Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, to end the desperate waste of life caused by lack of access to a basic toilet.


19 Nov 2014 | UK

WaterAid is marking World Toilet Day with an open letter to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, calling for an end to the crisis that has claimed the lives of over ten million under-fives since 2000 – simply because they don't have access to a basic toilet.

The letter, which has been signed by 36 international health and development experts - representing over 620,000 health professionals globally – also coincides with the release of WaterAid's new briefing, Child of mine. It highlights sanitation as one of the most neglected issues in developing countries and international development aid.

One in three children globally do not have access to a basic toilet which, alongside unsafe drinking water and a lack of hygiene services, contributes to the world's three main killers of children: undernutrition, pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Dr Eumu with a patient at Amuria Health Centre.
"Death from diarrhoeal diseases can be stopped this century," says Doctor Eumu Silver. The majority of children at his clinic in Amuria District, Uganda, have life-threatening diarrhoea and malaria, largely caused by lack of access to clean water and safe toilets, and poor hygiene.
Credit: WaterAid/Jake Lyell

Alongside WaterAid, signatories of the open letter include representatives from the British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the World Medical Association.

    The release of the letter comes at a crucial time, as governments work to complete the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that run from 2000 to 2015, and negotiate the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will replace them.

    Read the full letter here >
    Find out more about World Toilet Day 2014 >