In the Dominican Republic, legislative efforts to curb outbreaks of cholera and waterborne diseases in rural and urban populations have steadily improved sanitation, water and hygiene levels. National commitment has pushed both government and non-government organizations to develop and improve much of the Dominican Republic’s infrastructure. Below are 10 facts about sanitation in the Dominican Republic.
10 Facts About Sanitation in the Dominican Republic
- Cholera Outbreaks: Only 74 percent of residents have access to clean water, which primarily led to the cholera outbreaks in November 2010. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 8,000 people have died as a result of cholera.
- Natural Disasters: The Dominican Republic encountered 40 natural disasters from 1980 to 2008 that have severely damaged water systems and contaminated tanks. Approximately 2.65 million residents faced water shortages and illnesses due to poor weather conditions.
- Waterborne and Diarrheal Diseases: Waterborne and diarrheal diseases in the Dominican Republic spread mainly due to a lack of sanitary restrooms. Almost 24 percent of residents do not have access to bathrooms. Additionally, many, particularly children, do not have access to routine vaccinations for these diseases.
- Government Projects: Government partnerships and projects with the World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation have controlled epidemic outbreaks. These organizations have also improved accessibility to drinking water sources to 86 percent of the population. Further, sanitation facilities increased accessibility to 83 percent of residents between 1990 and 2010.
- The Inter-American Bank’s Loan: In 2012, the Dominican Republic partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank to obtain a $25 million loan. This loan would improve energy efficiency and provide access to water services for at least 12 hours to more than 200,000 residents. Despite ongoing measurements of the impact, about 84 percent of the population experienced an improvement in sanitation facilities and drinking water.
- The Dominican Red Cross: In response to the cholera outbreak, the Dominican Red Cross imported 28 water treatment plants to magnify emergency responses. The Haitian and Dominican governments developed a 10-year plan with the Red Cross to ensure cholera-free islands. The countries curated a two-year campaign that pushed their key objectives in eradicating the disease.
- USAID Batey Community Development Project: The USAID Batey Community Development Project is pushing to improve water access and sanitary conditions in the Dominican Republic’s bateyes. Bateyes, which are towns surrounding sugar mills, traditionally have no running water, electricity or cooking facilities. The project aims to improve water distribution systems, build restroom facilities and train the population on environmental hygiene.
- The Regional Coalition on Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera in Hispaniola: The Regional Coalition on Water and Sanitation to Eliminate Cholera in Hispaniola emerged in June 2012 as a blueprint for cholera-affected countries, primarily Haiti and the Dominican Republic, to help mobilize resources and reduce cholera-related deaths by 90 percent by 2030. The coalition consists of the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Surge for Water: In partnership with Project Hearts in 2016, Surge for Water installed 45 water tanks, 16 water filters and education and training opportunities to the people in Baitoa, Dominican Republic. This increased the population’s access to safe drinking water to 97 percent.
- The ACCIONA Agua’s Water Plant: A potable water plant that the ACCIONA Agua instituted in the south of the Dominican Republic improved the region’s network by providing access to more than 138,000 residents. This number will likely rise up to 300,000 in the coming years. For residents, this makes cooking a simple meal such as rice and beans more feasible.
These initiatives and developments are important in the progress of the Dominican Republic’s water, sanitation and hygiene levels. It is important to recognize many of the constituents that have compromised the country’s water supplies and sanitary conditions. Illnesses that are preventable through sustainable action often affect residents. These 10 facts about sanitation in the Dominican Republic, involving training, education and accessibility efforts, are vital to the country’s quality of life.
– Brittany Adames
Photo: Wikimedia Commons