Reporting From the World Water Forum

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World Water Forum

ONE has partners on the ground in Turkey for the 5th World Water Forum. Our partners will be providing guest blog posts throughout the week to keep us updated on the meeting’s proceedings. Stay tuned for more in this series!

As I was quoted in the Associated Press the other day,“In America, diarrhea is bad takeout, in Chad, it’s the difference between life and death.”

I’m here at the 5th World Water Forum in Istanbul to help coordinate a journalist workshop on the health aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene. Journalists have come from as far away as Indonesia, Laos and Peru to learn about this massive, but surmountable, challenge.

We want to bring attention to this under-reported issue, as more children die of diarrhea and other water and sanitation related diseases than die of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Meanwhile, 80% of research and development funding for diseases that disproportionately affect the poor is spent on these “big three” diseases. We aim to point out this disparity, not to take away funding from the more well-known diseases, but to see that more resources go to solving the water and sanitation crisis.

What is also unique about preventing and treating diarrhea is that affordable solutions are available now. Ceramic water filters, rope pumps, and ecosan toilets are all effective and sustainable solutions.

Sessions this week at the World Water Forum are going to focus on vast array of topics, such as new technologies, entrepreneurship and child health. The issue of poor water and sanitation in schools will also be discussed by UNICEF. An astounding 50% of schools in the developing world do not have access to water and sanitation.

PATH, WSSCC (Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council), and Water Advocates are a few of the organizers of the journalist forum. We hope that the workshop and forum will increase attention on the health aspects of the water and sanitation crisis. With 5,000 people dying each day due to dirty water, and poor sanitation and hygiene, this cannot wait.

-John Sauer, Water Advocates

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