WaterAid Reveals Economic Impact of Poor WASH Facilities in Pakistan

Islamabad, WaterAid’s recent health study, titled “Determining the Health Cost of Inadequate Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Pakistan,” unveiled in Islamabad on February 28, 2024, highlights the substantial economic burden poor WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) facilities place on Pakistani households. Led by Dr. Abid Aman Burki of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the study indicates a staggering annual cost to households of PKR 116.13 billion, disproportionately affecting lower-income families.

According to WaterAid, the study brings to the forefront the critical public health challenges arising from inadequate access to clean water and sanitation services. During the unveiling, Professor Dr. Meher Taj Roghani, a member of the Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations, Pakistan, underscored the urgent need to address the link between health and WASH to mitigate the risks associated with waterborne diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and typhoid.

The event featured a panel discussion with contributions from experts like Dr. Masood Jogezai, Technical Consultant at the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination; Itsuro Takahashi, WASH Manager at UNICEF; Dr. Shahzeb Mirza, Assistant Director of M and E at the Health Department, Govt of Sindh; and Dr. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

Muhammad Fazal, Head of Program Strategy and Policy at WaterAid, emphasized the critical role of improved WASH facilities in reducing morbidity and mortality rates in Pakistan. He called for collective action to ensure access to safe WASH, which is vital for the health and nutrition of the Pakistani populace.

Furqan Ahmed, Interim Country Director of WaterAid Pakistan, highlighted the compounded challenges posed by climate change on WASH and public health. He urged for continued collective efforts to prioritize WASH interventions from a health perspective, aiming for universal access to sustainable and safe WASH services in Pakistan.

This study serves as a call to action for policymakers, health professionals, and the community at large to address the health and economic impacts of inadequate WASH facilities, marking a critical step towards improving public health outcomes in Pakistan.

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