It’s time to talk about diarrhoea.
Every 20 seconds, a child under the age of five dies because of diarrhoea. They don’t live long enough to go to school to learn how to build a future for themselves. They’re killed by an utterly preventable illness, that those of us living in the UK would find easy and cheap to treat.
We’ve done some research, looking at Mali, Zambia and Ethiopia, to find out why many it’s so hard for many people to get the medication, healthcare and public services they need. We called it Diarrhoea Dialogues, because it’s important that we all keep talking about this until we find a way for children to stop dying. Only then will the conversation finish.
That’s why Tearfund, working with and through the local church, has been helping communities to have clean water and a safe place to go to the loo. We’ve been doing it for more than 35 years, and millions of people have led healthier and happier lives as a result.
There has been encouraging progress globally on access to water, with 2 billion more people gaining access to water since 1990. But there are still 780 million people without clean water and 2.5 billion without access to a basic toilet.
That’s why we’re excited about the UK Government’s announcement to double their support for water and sanitation and help 60 million people to get clean water and basic sanitation by 2015. Here’s our response.
We’ve been asking for this for a while. In 2011, thousands of Tearfund supporters joined World Walks for Water along with hundreds of thousands of others around the world, and lobbied the UK Government to help people who live without clean water or basic sanitation.
Tearfund is leading the global church to break the silence on this issue: to speak out on behalf of the millions who, for the lack of these basic services, are locked in extreme poverty.
Tearfund's global network of church partners is enabling communities to build and maintain their own toilet and water facilities. Addressing water and sanitation through our local church partners is one of the most cost-effective ways to release people from poverty: for every £1 spent on water and sanitation, £8 is returned through saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs.