BY EDMUND SMITH-ASANTE
|Shared toilets are not considered in sanitation coverage|
Of the 35 countries completely off-track the sanitation ladder in Africa as far as meeting the MDG target is concerned, it is Botswana that has shown the greatest promise and commitment to reversing its fortunes.
According to a new report released Tuesday, April 17, 2012, with its current rate of progress, the East African country will only miss their MDG target of achieving 69% coverage of sanitation by 1%.
The new report by international aid agency, WaterAid, titled “Saving Lives” says Botswana is likely to achieve its target a year later, 2016, if the current rate is anything to go by, making it the first in Africa to come out of the sanitation doldrums.
For a country that had only a national coverage of 38% as at 1990, Botswana scaled up to 62% two decades later in 2010, with people without improved sanitation reduced to 763,000 that same year, and is projected to achieve 68% coverage in three years – 2015.
Botswana currently experiences 89 under-five sanitation-related deaths yearly, the lowest on the African continent, saves 14 under-five lives annually with its current rate of investment in the sector, and is projected to save two lives each year if it is able to meet its MDG target of 69%.
Second to Botswana is North African country Morocco, which the WaterAid report projects will achieve its MDG target of 77% three years late in 2018, at its current rate of investment and progress.
Also starting off in 1990 with a modest national coverage of 53%, Morocco was able to increase access to 70% in twenty years (2010) and it is projected will achieve a coverage of 74% by 2015, thus falling short of its target by 3%.
Further, while 9,585,000 of Morocco’s population were without improved sanitation in 2010, the “Saving Lives” report states the country currently experiences WASH-related under age five deaths of 2,567 annually, while 364 under-five deaths are saved each year as a result of current investments.
Should the country, which currently has an MDG gap of 2% achieve its target, the report envisages that 193 infant lives will be saved yearly.
South Africa is third with an MDG gap of 5% and has been able to up its coverage of 71% in 1990 to 79% in 2010 and has a target of 86% to achieve in the next three years.
The projection for South Africa is that by 2015 it would have only achieved 81% sanitation coverage, and will only achieve its target by 2026, eleven years later.
The report adduces further, that in 2010 as many as 10,528,000 of South Africa’s population was without improved sanitation, and that currently 5,538 under-five lives are lost annually through sanitation-related diseases.
The good news however, is that at the current rate of progress 527 under-five lives are saved yearly, while if the country meets its MDG target it will be saving 1,187 under-five lives yearly.
Rwanda comes fourth with an impressive performance, with an 8% MDG gap and forecasted to achieve its target of 68% by 2024. Currently with a national coverage of 55% attained in 2010, it is foreseen that Rwanda will only be able to achieve 60% by the set date of 2015 and presently experiences WASH-related infant deaths of 8,188 yearly.
The rest of African countries off-track as far as sanitation coverage is concerned, all have coverage gaps of over 10% and will averagely only achieve their set targets in 100 or more years.
African countries sharing the last rungs of the ladder are Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Djibouti, Guinea, Mali, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia.
In 20 years (1990 – 2010) Ghana has only been able to up its national sanitation coverage by 7%, having moved from 7% to 14% and is envisioned to attain only 16% of its set target of 54% by 2015.
With an MDG gap of 38% the country currently experiences under-five sanitation-related deaths of 4,571 each year, with 20,977,000 (over twenty million) of its population without proper sanitation.
Further, while with the current levels of investment only 93 under-five infants are saved each year, it is projected that 2,006 can be saved if Ghana attains its MDG target by the year 2123.