85,700 Children Under 15 Die Annually from Diarrhea Caused by Unsafe Water and Sanitation

Early Childhood Development Problems Due to Lack of Access to Clean Drinking Water and Sanitation

Written by Rika Andini

The lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities has a profound impact on early childhood development. Water plays a crucial role in healthy growth and development, and poor management of water can lead to negative consequences. Beyond providing a hygienic living environment through clean water, adequate sanitation, and good hygiene, water is also essential for proper nutrition, as it aids digestion and absorption of nutrients. Children without access to clean water are at an increased risk of malnutrition and other health issues that can have long-term effects on their development. Additionally, poor sanitation and hygiene facilities can spread waterborne diseases, exacerbating the problem. Addressing the issue of lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities is essential for promoting healthy development in early childhood.

Access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation facilities is crucial for ensuring good health and well-being. Unfortunately, a significant number of people around the world still lack access to these essential resources. According to the United Nations, approximately 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, while 4.2 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities. As a result, every year, 85,700 children under the age of 15 die from diarrhea caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and hygiene.1

More than 1,300 children under the age of five die every day due to diseases caused by unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and hygiene. This statistic underscores the urgent need to prioritize access to clean water and sanitation facilities for the most vulnerable members of our global community.2 The lack of access to these basic necessities is not only a public health issue but also a human rights issue, as every child has the right to a safe and healthy living environment. Investing in initiatives that improve water and sanitation infrastructure, promote good hygiene practices, and educate communities on the importance of clean water and sanitation is crucial to prevent the high number of preventable deaths due to waterborne illnesses.

In many parts of the world, millions of families lack access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, affecting not only their physical health but also their overall development, particularly during the critical early childhood years. Children growing up in environments with inadequate water and sanitation face various challenges that can impact their growth and development, including stunted growth, cognitive delays, and weakened immune systems. This global issue requires attention, and initiatives to improve access to clean water and sanitation facilities should be implemented urgently to promote healthy early childhood development.

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The reasons for early childhood lack of access to clean water and sanitation

Early childhood access to clean water and sanitation is often limited or nonexistent in many parts of the world. Understanding why access to clean water and sanitation is so important—and why it is lacking in various areas—can help us work to improve the lives of young children everywhere.

The lack of access to clean water and sanitation is a major challenge in many parts of the world, particularly in impoverished communities that lack the resources necessary to provide basic necessities for their inhabitants. Poverty and lack of infrastructure are among the primary contributing factors to the problem. In many developing countries, governments lack the financial resources or political will to invest in adequate water and sanitation infrastructure, leaving millions of people without access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Many people are forced to rely on unsafe water sources such as rivers and ponds, which can lead to waterborne illnesses and other health problems. Additionally, some areas may struggle with a lack of education about the importance of hygiene practices, such as handwashing with soap. This means that even if resources were available, people may still not have access due to lack of knowledge about proper hygiene practices.

According to the latest data, eight out of 10 people who lack access to basic drinking water services live in rural areas, highlighting the significant challenges faced by rural communities in accessing clean water. Additionally, about half of the people who lack access to basic drinking water services live in least developed countries (LDCs), which are among the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the world. In these communities, lack of access to clean water can have severe consequences for health, education, and economic development, as people are forced to spend hours each day collecting water or risk consuming contaminated water.

In addition to poverty-related issues, another major factor contributing to limited access for children is a lack of prioritization from governments and decision makers when it comes to child-specific needs. In many countries, water and sanitation infrastructure investments and policies are driven by economic or political considerations, without taking into account the specific needs of children. As a result, children are often left behind in efforts to improve access to clean water and sanitation. This lack of prioritization can have severe consequences for children’s health and well-being, as they are more vulnerable to waterborne diseases and other health risks associated with poor sanitation.

Another issue that contributes to poor access to clean water and sanitation, particularly for women and girls. In many parts of the world, women and girls are responsible for collecting water for their families, often walking long distances to reach the nearest water source. This can take up valuable time that could be spent on education or income-generating activities, and can also expose them to safety risks and health hazards. In addition, women and girls are often excluded from decision-making processes related to water and sanitation, which can result in policies and investments that do not meet their specific needs. This can perpetuate gender inequalities and further limit access to clean water and sanitation for women and girls.

The Impact of Inadequate Water and Sanitation on Early Childhood Development

Access to clean water and sanitation are basic human rights, yet many children in the world lack access to these essential services. This is especially true for early childhood development, where inadequate water and sanitation can have a major impact on the health and well-being of children around the world.

Impact on Health

The impact of inadequate water and sanitation on early childhood development can have serious health consequences. Children living in areas with poor water and sanitation infrastructure are at a higher risk of contracting water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid, which can be fatal, particularly for young children with undeveloped immune systems. Diarrhea is another common illness associated with poor sanitation, and it is a leading cause of death among children. Additionally, poorly maintained latrines can pose a threat to children’s safety, increasing the risk of injury or drowning, which can be even more hazardous than open defecation sites.

Diarrheal diseases are a major public health concern, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where access to clean water and sanitation facilities is limited. According to global health data, diarrheal diseases are the second leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age worldwide, with approximately 1.7 billion cases and 525,000 deaths each year. These deaths disproportionately affect those living in LMICs, with about 90% of diarrheal deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.3 

Impact on Education

Inadequate access to water and sanitation also has a direct impact on education outcomes for young children. Poor hygiene practices in areas with limited healthcare resources can increase the spread of disease, leading to more missed days of school due to illness or lack of hygiene facilities. This results in lower academic performance overall, which can have long-term implications for a child’s future prospects. Girls, in particular, often face greater challenges due to inadequate toilets or private spaces for menstrual hygiene management. This leads to higher levels of absenteeism and further exacerbates gender disparities in educational attainment levels across developing countries.

Indonesia is one of the countries where the lack of proper sanitation facilities is a major issue. According to a report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, nearly 25 million people in Indonesia do not use toilets and instead defecate in open spaces, which can pose health risks to individuals and the wider community. Without proper sanitation facilities, water sources can become contaminated, leading to the spread of waterborne diseases and infections.4 

Impact on Nutrition

In addition to health and education impacts, inadequate access to water and sanitation can also have an impact on nutrition outcomes for young children.  Poor sanitation practices can lead to the spread of diseases such as diarrhea and malnutrition, which can in turn lead to stunted growth and other long-term health problems. In many developing countries, access to nutritious food is also limited, exacerbating the problem of undernutrition. Without access to clean water and sanitation facilities, families are often unable to properly store and prepare food, leading to further malnutrition. Additionally, water scarcity can also limit agricultural productivity, reducing the availability of fresh produce and increasing the price of basic food items. As a result, children in impoverished communities are at a higher risk of malnutrition, which can have long-term impacts on their physical and cognitive development.

Strategies to Improve Access to Clean Water and Sanitation Practices in Early Childhood Development

Many children in developing countries do not have access to these basic needs, which can lead to serious health problems and even death. To address this issue, here are some strategies that can be used to improve access to clean water and sanitation practices in early childhood development.

Installing water treatment and sanitation technologies such as water filtration systems, composting toilets, and greywater recycling systems can help ensure that young children have access to clean water and hygienic sanitation practices. These technologies are particularly important in areas where access to clean water is limited or where traditional sanitation methods are inadequate.

Water filtration systems are an effective way to provide clean drinking water in areas where access to clean water is limited or nonexistent. These systems use a combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove contaminants from water sources. These systems can also be used in conjunction with other technologies such as solar-powered pumps, which can help improve access to clean drinking water for communities located in remote areas where traditional methods of obtaining clean drinking water may not be feasible.

Carocell Solar Water is a highly effective water purification technology that offers a solution to the challenge of accessing clean water in areas with limited access to safe drinking water. This technology is designed to produce safe and high-quality drinkable water from any source, including seawater, groundwater, contaminated or polluted water, and rainwater. By utilizing advanced filtration techniques, Carocell Solar Water is able to remove impurities and contaminants from water, making it safe for consumption. With this technology, communities in developing countries can have access to clean drinking water without the need for expensive and complicated equipment imports.

The Carocell Solar Water Purification technology is not only effective but also environmentally friendly. The Carocell panel uses solar energy to power its purification process, making it energy-efficient and sustainable. In addition, it doesn’t require any filter replacements or chemicals to produce clean drinking water. This makes it a low-maintenance and cost-effective solution for communities that lack resources or infrastructure. Moreover, the Carocell system can also be used to harvest rainwater, making it an all-in-one solution for communities that struggle with water scarcity.

The success of Carocell Solar Water can be seen in its extensive installation across the world, with over 3000+ systems installed in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia, and several countries in Africa. This wide reach has provided access to safe drinking water for millions of people who were previously struggling with water scarcity and contamination. The effectiveness and reliability of Carocell Solar Water have made it a popular choice for communities, organizations, and governments looking for sustainable and long-term solutions to water and sanitation challenges.

A mother in Sri Lanka shared her experience after using Carocell Solar Water Purification Technology: “My son studied in grade 08. He was diagnosed with a kidney infection a few months after he was born. Now he is 13 years old. He is now able to get clean drinking water. We can give him that water without any fear. He says it is very much like the bottled water he drank when we went to Colombo.” This highlights the importance of technologies such as Carocell Solar Water in providing safe and clean drinking water, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children.5 

Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation can have a significant impact on early childhood development. The high prevalence of waterborne illnesses and poor sanitation practices can lead to malnutrition, stunted growth, and other health problems that can affect a child’s physical and cognitive development. However, with the implementation of appropriate strategies such as the adoption of innovative technologies like Carocell Solar Water and education on proper sanitation practices, we can improve access to clean water and sanitation in early childhood development.

It is essential for us to help ensure that children across the world have access to safe and clean drinking water as well as proper sanitation facilities. For this purpose, various organizations—both governmental and non-governmental—are actively engaged in working towards providing clean water initiatives. We can also make our small contributions to such efforts by donating time, money or even our expertise. After all, we all share a responsibility to provide children with clean water and improved sanitation so they can have the best chance of developing optimally both physically and mentally.

Tirta Murni Nusantara

Jalan Penestanan, Sayan,

Kecamatan Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, 80571

+ 62 821 4645 0217


AHU-0020799.AH.01.04 Tahun 2022

Berita Negara No 080 Tahun 2022

Akta Notaris
no 09, 30 September 2022

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