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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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