Environmental Disease

: 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 67--68

Necessity to augment the financial investment in the water, sanitation, and hygiene services worldwide

Saurabh Rambiharilal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Rambiharilal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Necessity to augment the financial investment in the water, sanitation, and hygiene services worldwide.Environ Dis 2017;2:67-68

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Necessity to augment the financial investment in the water, sanitation, and hygiene services worldwide. Environ Dis [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Feb 1 ];2:67-68
Available from: http://www.environmentmed.org/text.asp?2017/2/2/67/209266

Full Text

Dear Editor,

Access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation facilities is critical for maintenance of optimal health standards and to aid in the creation of a healthy environment.[1] At the same time, drinking of unsafe water has been associated with impairment of human health, while the contamination of drinking water supplies with untreated sewage can result in significant numbers of morbidities and massive burden on the health system as well as the general population.[1],[2] The available global estimates suggest that 660 million people have no access to an improved drinking-water source, while more than 2.3 billion people lack access to improved sanitation facilities, which makes them extremely susceptible to food-borne illnesses and millions of deaths worldwide.[1],[2] A major proportion of these deprived population is from developing nations, living in remote and rural settings.[1],[2]

Moreover, contaminated drinking water has been identified as one of the major predisposing factors in 0.5 million diarrheal deaths each year and is a crucial determinant in the acquisition of various neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma.[1] To improve the drinking water and sanitation related standards, specific targets have been defined under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).[1] However, the findings of a recently released report have indicated that most of the nation is not spending an adequate amount of funds to expedite the pace of desired activities to meet the water and sanitation targets.[2] In fact, it has been recognized that <5% of the average rise in the budget allocation for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) have been observed in nations, and that four-fifth of the nations has insufficient monetary support to meet the national specified targets.[1],[2],[3]

It is quite obvious that most of the developing nations aim to strengthen primary infrastructure services, but then there is no guarantee that it will definitely provide safe and reliable services.[2] Furthermore, despite the presence of strategies to improve the reach of WASH services in more than two-thirds of the nation, the implementation of existing strategies has been extremely poor, and thus people from low-resource settings have been deprived of the essential measures.[1],[2] Considering that the goals pertaining to drinking water and sanitation have been globally achieved in the era of the Millennium Development Goals, it lays down extra pressure on the stakeholders.[1],[3]

For the accomplishment of the ambitious SDG targets, there is a need to make a systematic investment and increase the financial allocation from different stakeholders through the adoption of collective, coordinated, and innovative actions.[2],[4] Financing for WASH can be streamlined from different sources such as households (such as household tariffs, fees paid to service providers and repayable finance); taxes paid to the government; and funds from international donors and charitable agencies.[2] The available money should be used for improving the sanitation and drinking water facilities and should prioritize rural settings more than urban areas (which are already receiving 3 times more funds than rural areas).[2]

In addition, efforts should be taken toward hygiene promotion, behavior change, and a balance must be maintained between new investment to extend aid to the un-served and recurrent expenditure required to sustain existing services.[2] Furthermore, attention should be given towards strengthening and development of large systems (like urban distribution networks and/or treatment facilities), basic systems (such as drinking-water systems, which include rural water supply schemes using hand-pumps, rainwater collection, etc.), and basic sanitation systems (viz., construction of latrines by providing financial assistance).[2] The increase investments in water and sanitation will not only be crucial for the improvement of health standards but will also provide opportunities for jobs and hence ensure that no one is left behind.[1],[2]

To conclude, the global target to ensure universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation cannot be accomplished, unless urgent actions are taken to promote optimal utilization of the available financial resources and identify new sources of funding to sustain the existing services.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1World Health Organization. Radical Increase in Water and Sanitation Investment Required to Meet Development Targets; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2017/water-sanitation-investment/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Apr 14].
2World Health Organization, UN-Water. UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2017 Report – Financing Universal Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Under the Sustainable Development Goals. Geneva: WHO Press; 2017. p. 1-26.
3Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening water, sanitation, and hygiene services in health establishments: An urgent priority of WHO. J Res Med Sci 2015;20:1016-7.
4Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Strengthening the quality of household water treatment products on a global scale: World Health Organization. J Earth Environ Health Sci 2016;2:39-40.