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Congress Can Help Improve WASH, Survival For Children Worldwide

David Winder, chief executive of WaterAid USA, highlights the findings of the recently released UNICEF report on child mortality in this Huffington Post “Impact” blog post, saying the decrease in annual number of child deaths “is great news, but is tempered by sobering statistics, especially for children in sub-Saharan Africa,” who continue to face high rates of mortality. “However all is not lost and much can be done to ameliorate the situation. Improving access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is a key step in preventing many of these needless deaths,” he writes, adding, “Known collectively as WASH, these three basic services are important factors in preventing pneumonia and diarrhea, the leading causes of mortality among children between one month and five years of age.”

“Governments need to give greater priority to tackling the underlying causes of child mortality,” Winder says, adding, “Providing every child with access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene has a dramatic impact on child survival and produces many other benefits.” He continues, “Congress currently has the opportunity to do more for WASH, and thereby for the world’s children. By providing $400 million for safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as approved for Fiscal Year 2013 by the Senate Appropriations Committee and a fully funded international affairs account, and urgently passing the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act (HR 3658 and S 641), the U.S. can expand its leadership on child survival by addressing one of the most fundamental underlying factors in preventable child deaths” (9/17).