Safe water and sanitation helping to eradicate tropical diseases

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Child drinks safe water. UN Photo/UNICEF/ZAK

Poor communities rife in tropical diseases are being helped by a new UN plan to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a programme on Thursday to speed up progress in eliminating neglected tropical illnesses from the planet by 2020.

Maria Carlino reports.

More than half a million people die each year from 17 neglected tropical diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO said dirty drinking water and a lack of access to toilets and sanitation services have caused millions of poor people, especially children, to contract illnesses like intestinal worms, trachoma and snail fever.

The agency announced a global plan on Thursday to eradicate 16 of the tropical ailments over the next five years.

Maria Neira, a public health director at WHO, said simple solutions like access to clean water, hygiene and proper management of human excrement will improve health while reducing poverty.

The WHO plan will combine these solutions with preventive chemotherapy, innovative disease management, vector control and veterinary public health services.

Maria Carlino, United Nations.

Duration: 53″

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