Yesterday, 19th November 2012 was World Toilet Day, and like everything else in my life at the moment, I am running behind so this post is a day late, I'm afraid.
I have pinched that title "Dying for the loo" from something I read a few years ago that opened my eyes to something I previously had little awareness of. The full article is well worth a read and can be found here.
The statistics seem to have improved since then, instead of killing 5,000 - 6,000 children a day, lack of sanitation kills only around 2,000 children a day. Hello? Did you hear me? ONLY 2,000 children per day! How can we stand by and let this happen! That is 2,000 children too many who are losing their lives each and every day from something that should and could be prevented.
Now statistics are not my strong point and in all honesty whenever I see numbers my brain kind of panics and switches off (something to do with bad memories of maths tests at school no doubt!). So whenever I see shocking statistics like these I need to take a moment to translate those numbers into something that I understand and makes it a bit more real rather than just a number.
So for example....
When I hear that every year, around 60 million children are born into homes without access to sanitation (wateraid), I need to tell myself that that is like almost all of the population of the UK not having access to sanitation.
When I read that around 700,000 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, I need to tell myself that is pretty much the equivalent of the population of San Francisco dying each year.
When I realise that diarrhoea kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, all of a sudden I realise that something we consider as a pretty minor illness, becomes a anyting but a minor illness in areas of the world where there is a lack of proper sanitation.
Would we stand by and let that happen to children if it was happening here? Add your voice...