June 1, 2015
Africa’s Ministers of Water Resources and Sanitation have fixed 2030 as the terminal year to end open defecation, presently practiced by 233 million Africans.
According to the ‘Ngor declaration’ issued at the end of a recent three day meeting, the Ministers aligned themselves with the aspiration of the draft Sustainable Development Goals which targets to “by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and an end to open defecation, paying special attention to the need of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations”.
Of the 233 million people in Africa still practicing open defecation, Nigeria takes the lead with 39 million people still defecating in the open, 34 million in Ethiopia, 17 million in Sudan, 13 million in Niger, 10 million in Mozambique, 9 million people in Burkina Faso, 9 million in Madagascar, 8 million in South Sudan, 8 million in Chad, 6 million in Tanzania, while the rest of Africa has 80 million people, according to WHO//UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) figures.
The issue of access and lack of access to safe and improved sanitation facilities came to the fore when Water and Sanitation professionals convened in Senegal, a West African country for the 4th edition of the triennial Africa Sanitation and Hygiene Conference, popularly known as AfricaSan, May 25 and 27 2015.
Organized by the Africa Minister’s Council on Water (AMCOW) the largest inter-governmental body on Water and Sanitation in Africa comprising 54 Ministers of Water Resource ministries in Africa, AfricaSan4’s theme was ‘Making Sanitation a reality in Africa’, and took place in King Fahd Palace Hotels in Dakar, Senegal.
The kernel of discussions of the three day conference that attracted close to 1000 participants from the government, civil society, media, donor bodies, private sector, and development community, was how Africans can have sustainable access to improved sanitation facilities, which the WHO//UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for water and sanitation defines as a ‘sanitation facility that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact’.