From: Reuters
Published January 15, 2008 07:25 PM

Poor sanitation seen killing 5,000 children a day

LONDON (Reuters) - Five thousand children die every day globally because they do not have access to clean toilets, health experts said on Tuesday.

Wealthy governments and donors could make a huge impact on global health by making sanitation a priority, representatives from a coalition of 60 health groups said.

They estimated that 40 percent of the world's people do not have access to clean and safe toilets.

"It is about generating political will, and we also want to see is a real mobilization around sanitation in the aid system," said Henry Northover of WaterAid, which founded the coalition End Water Poverty.

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"We want to see the G8 (group of industrialized nations) prioritize it this year."

This would also go a long way toward meeting global targets aimed at sharply reducing world poverty by 2015, the experts said.

WaterAid says 1.8 million children are dying each year before their fifth birthday from diarrhea.

"There is a global crisis in sanitation," said Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association. "Governments must take action now on this vital area of international development."

(Reporting by Michael Kahn; editing by Maggie Fox and Keith Weir)

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