Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Water and Health, Hand-in-Hand for a Day

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Water and Health, Hand-in-Hand for a Day

Article excerpt

To raise awareness of the connection between water and health, WHO was chosen as lead agency for World Water Day on 22 March. Scores of events, ranging from Internet-based discussions among students to ice-hockey games, music video releases, and the more traditional seminars and awards, took place in countries around the world. World Water Day has been celebrated annually since it was first conceived at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This is the first year that WHO has acted as primary sponsor.

"Access to safe water is a universal need ... and a basic human right," WHO director-general, Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, said in a video released on the World Water Day web site (www.worldwaterday.org). More than one billion people -- 18% of the world's population -- do not have access to "improved sources" of water and 2.4 billion do not have access to basic sanitation, she noted. Consequently, more than 3 million people die each year from water-related diseases such as diarrhoea and malaria. Millions of others suffer from diseases such as dysentery, which can be transmitted by contaminated water, and trachoma, which is associated with lack of readily accessible water.

A lack of clean water is often linked to poverty. …

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