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Eight off-track countries experience reversed gains in sanitation coverage

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Eight of 57 countries of the world that are considered off-track with respect to meeting their sanitation Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target, have also experienced reversed gains, according to a report released by WaterAid, an international aid agency.

The report, “Saving Lives” which was released prior to the second Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting (HLM) held in the United States of America, indicates that whereas most of the off-track countries made gains, though somewhat small in most instances, eight countries in particular, had their coverage depreciating in two decades, other than appreciating.

In a table depicting the various countries and their levels of coverage, the report listed Haiti as being the worse off, with an MDG gap of 48%, followed by Nigeria, Sudan and Djibouti, with 39%, 38% and 37% respectively.

The rest are Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Nauru, with gaps of 31%, 29% and 18% apiece respectively.

Explaining the gap, and why there was a reversal in gains in the eight countries, the table shows that although Haiti had a national coverage of  26% in 1990, that had reduced to 17% by the next two decades in 2010, although it has an MDG target of 63% to attain by 2015. This indicates that as things stand now, the country will only be able to achieve 15% coverage in three years.

In her case, Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa with about 154 million people according to United Nations estimates, had its coverage of  37% in 1990 reduced to 31% twenty years later in 2010, although it has an MDG target of 69% to attain, which will only be 30% in 2015.

Sudan on the other hand, started off with 27% in 1990, but had it reduced to 26% in 2010 with a target of 64% staring it in the face and so will have to be content with 26% coverage by 2015.

Djibouti’s 66% in 1990 also dwindled to 50% in 20 years, although it has challenged itself to attain 83% coverage in 2015 and so will have to make do with 46% by the time of the target date.

Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe for its part had a coverage of  41% in 1990 reducing to 40% in 2010, and has a target of 71% to achieve by 2015, but which will not materialise with the current trend. This means coverage will be at 40% by 2015 according to the WaterAid report.

Papua New Guinea also had its 1990 coverage of 47% reducing to 45% by 2010 with a target of  74% hanging around its neck and so will have to be content with 45% by 2015.

For her part, Russia’s 1990 coverage of 74% plummeted to 70% by 2010, although it has a target of 87% to contend with and so will have to be satisfied with 69% by the time the MDG target date is up, while Nauru also had its 1990 achievement of 66% ever so slightly lowering to 65% by 2010, even though it has set a target of 83% to achieve.

65% will thus be its lucky number by 2015, the date set to attain 83% 12 years ago in 1990.

By Edmund Smith-Asante

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