The African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) has called on African countries to implement the roadmap on sanitation to boost coverage.

This is contained in a statement signed by the organisation’s Executive Secretary, Bai Mas Taal, and made available to the New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

Taal said that it timely for Africa to re-think and intensify efforts on the road map aimed at improving access to sanitation in the continent.

”The eThekwini commitment is one such initiative endorsed by African governments to help accelerate progress towards meeting the MDGs on sanitation and hygiene.

”The good news is, the recently concluded review of progress on eThekwini commitments indicate that Africa is not where we were a few years back.

”Significant progress has been made in the areas of policy and strategy development, and adoption of an approach for improving access to sanitation among others,” Taal said in the statement.

He said that Africa was far from where it should be, regarding the sanitation and hygiene’s MDGs targets.

Taal said the common low-score denominators identified at the Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Africa sub-regional review of progress on the eThekwini Commitments included financing, capacity, monitoring, evaluation and coordination.

”AMCOW wants to inspire the spirit of cooperation and communality, which lives in the hearts of all Africans, to look at what we as a people can do to improve the situation as we mark this year’s World Toilet Day.

”Let us do this bearing in mind that we are fighting poverty and we are saving lives.

”Let the civil society, academia, the private sector and all of us, led by government, join hands to work together to save lives, restore dignity and improve livelihoods of our people.”

The executive director said that about 2.5 billion people across the world faced indignity, inconvenience, insecurity and discomfort due to lack of access to an improved sanitation.

Taal said the affected people grappled with strong health and financial implications associated with the problem.

He said over 600 million of such people lived in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that ”Africa is off track to meet the MDGs for sanitation.

”At the rate Africa is going, it may only attain universal access to sanitation and hygiene 300 years from now.

”Meanwhile hundreds of children under five die due to sanitation and hygiene-related diseases daily.

”Many more people expend valuable time and resources due to ill health and other negative effects of poor sanitation.”

The theme of the 2013 World Toilet Day is; ”Rural meet the urban sanitation.” The day is celebrated in more than 19 countries with 51 events being hosted by various water and sanitation advocates.


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