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2019 Water: Leaving No One Behind


GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Water is an essential ingredient for life.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the amount of fresh water on earth is limited, and its quality is under constant pressure.

 

“Preserving the quality of fresh water is important for the drinking-water supply, food production and recreational water use.  Water quality can be compromised by the presence of infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards,” the WHO reports.

 

The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the ministry, this week’s focus is on water and is part of CPSs public awareness initiative about relevant health matters.

 

The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 calls for water for all by 2030.  The UN reports that billions of people are still living without safe water.

 

“Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction.

 

“In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.

 

“Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks.

 

“This is particularly the case in health care facilities where both patients and staff are placed at additional risk of infection and disease when water, sanitation, and hygiene services are lacking. Globally, 15% of patients develop an infection during a hospital stay, with the proportion much greater in low-income countries.”

 

WHO reports that diarrhoea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water but there are other hazards. Almost 240 million people are affected by schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water.

 

In many parts of the world, insects that live or breed in water carry and transmit diseases such as dengue fever. Some of these insects, known as vectors, breed in clean, rather than dirty water, and household drinking water containers can serve as breeding grounds.

The simple intervention of covering water storage containers can reduce vector breeding and may also reduce faecal contamination of water at the household level.

 

CPS would like to once again remind the community to take measures around their yard by removing bins, cans, containers and anything that could hold water which could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.