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7 Facts about Sanitation in Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea is a country located on the western coast of Central Africa. Corruption in politics has culminated in a small elite group receiving money and success. Around 44% of the population still lives under the poverty line. Here are seven facts about sanitation in Equatorial Guinea.

7 Facts About Sanitation in Equatorial Guinea

  1. Basic Sanitation Services: In 2017, around 66% of the population of Equatorial Guinea were using basic sanitation services. This refers to access to facilities that properly dispose of human excrement. These services are mostly available in the two major cities in Equatorial Guinea, Malabo and Bata. Even though this number has increased since 2000 when the recorded percentage was around 50, it is still low. To put it in perspective, 99.97% of people in the United States had access to basic sanitation services. Moreover, the term “improved sanitation” refers to the use of basic sanitation services at a household level. In 2015, 74% of the population had improved sanitation.
  2. Water Quality: Less than half of the population has access to clean water. Thankfully, UNICEF has been installing rainwater collectors on the roofs of school buildings since 2007, which give students access to clean water all year round. In 2017, 65% of the population had access to basic drinking water services.
  3. Malaria: Experts consider good hygiene to be one of the best ways to prevent infectious diseases. While malaria is a vector-borne disease, poor sanitation conditions often correlate with an increase in malaria cases. In 2015, the National Malaria Control Program completed several tests in Equatorial Guinea to decrease the effects and cases of malaria in the country. The results showed that the prevalence of malaria in rural settings was higher (closer to 60%) than in an urban setting, where it was only 33.9%. The findings of the National Malaria Control Program’s tests and studies will assist in planning preventative initiatives in both rural and urban Equatorial Guinea.
  4. Developmental Assistance: In 2002, Equatorial Guinea received more than $6 million in water and sanitation-related developmental assistance disbursements from the United Nations U.N.-Water program. This money went toward hydroelectric power, drinking water supply, wastewater treatment and more.
  5. Health Care: With the boom of oil in the 1990s, Equatorial Guinea had a great opportunity to improve sanitation and strengthen its public healthcare. However, instead of investing in these facets, the government spent 82% of its budget in 2011 on large-scale infrastructure projects. In comparison to other countries with similar GDP, Equatorial Guinea is failing at providing health care and sanitation for its citizens. Sadly, the government has not stopped this skewed way of budgeting. However, hopefully, criticism from the IMF and the World Bank will initiate change in the next few years.
  6. Sewage Systems: In 2010, the government completed a new network of sewage and rainwater in the city of Malabo. The intention of this project was to serve over 100,000 residents. Consequently, it provides residents with potable running water and better sanitary conditions.
  7. Waterborne Diseases: The quality of water causes waterborne diseases in Equatorial Guinea. In fact, two out of 10 children die before the age of 5. Death is often from diarrhea and other diseases due to poor water quality, like Hepatitis A and typhoid fever. Moreover, typhoid more commonly occurs in rural areas where people lack basic sanitation and have limited access to clean water.

Sanitation in Equatorial Guinea has improved tremendously throughout the years even if it seems like the country still has a long way to go. It has not helped that Equatorial Guinea’s government has not always been supportive of sanitation legislation. Thankfully, outside organizations like U.N.-Water and UNICEF are providing aid.

– Bailey Sparks
Photo: Flickr

Water Quality in Guyana
One of any civilization’s most important resources is its water supply, and in Guyana, the importance of water quality is paramount. Guyana’s top exports and leading industries are agricultural, which requires a massive proportion of the country’s water withdrawals (94.4 percent in 2010). The country’s long-term average annual precipitation is 2.4 meters, and the average actual renewable water resources total around 600,000 gallons a year.

According to U.N. Water, Guyana invested around $36 million into water-related infrastructure and programs from 2003 to 2011, and more than 37 percent of that money, approximately $13 million, was put into the large water supply and sanitation systems. “In 2003, water supply and sanitation – large systems received 7.9 million constant 2010 U.S. dollars, representing the largest amount invested by the government in one water-related category over this period,” the U.N. Water Guyana country brief states.

In that seven-year span, official development assistance totaled more than $84 million, of which nearly 35 percent, or $29 million, went toward large water supply and sanitation systems. The U.N. Water report on Guyana states that water, sanitation and hygiene factors contributed to more than 300 deaths in 2004, which is nearly 3.5 percent of all deaths in the country. Since 1990, the under-five child mortality rate has dropped from a probability of 65 per 1,000 lives births to fewer than 30 per 1,000 live births in 2010. This may be due to the increased number of children with access to improved drinking water sources and sanitation facilities.

The U.N. water report also states that 94 percent of the country’s 758,000 people used an improved drinking water source in 2010, compared to 88 percent in 1994. In addition, the number of people with access to improved sanitation facilities rose 10 percentages points in those 16 years.

The report notes that little data is available on drinking water quality in Guyana. It clearly states that the country faces water-related challenges, including contamination of potable water supplies, which lead to water-borne diseases such as vector-borne lymphatic filariasis and leptospirosis. It also notes that there is a lack of highly qualified personnel within water sector institutions.

According to the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), these diseases are generally associated with standing water, mosquito-borne lymphatic filariasis and contaminated (water related) leptospirosis.

A July 2014 news release from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) states that water quality in Guyana may soon vastly improve with The Program to Improve Water and Sanitation Infrastructure and Supply.

The IADB loaned Guyana Water Incorporated more than $16 million while the European Union invested more than $14 million, in part to educate residents on proper hygiene practices.

This program could help decrease the prevalence of leptospirosis as it is commonly correlated with coming in contact with waters contaminated by animal waste, according to the CDC.

Shaun Savarese

Photo: Flickr