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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Topics / Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene

About 2.6 billion people use unsafe toilets or defecate in the open.  Poor sanitation causes severe diarrhea, which kills 1.5 million children each year.  Smart investments in sanitation can reduce disease, increase family incomes, keep girls in school, help preserve the environment, and enhance human dignity.

Learn more below and visit the program page for more details about our work in this area.

My experience traveling to Bangladesh; the country at the heart of the global water crisis

Let’s try something. Walk to the nearest faucet and pour yourself a glass of water. Pretty easy, right? In Bangladesh, for young girls, this short walk ends up becoming a four-mile hike only to wait in line and receive a couple buckets of dirt-ridden water for the whole day.

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How our cities’ sanitation problem is damaging health

The piece highlights how having a sound fecal sludge management system is of utmost importance in densely populated areas, where most residents are often not connected to conventional sewer networks. Madhu says, “based on the data culled by the Centre for Science and Environment through a survey of close to 75 cities, between 70-90% of our human waste goes untreated into the environment. The collected and untreated material is usually dumped in the nearest water body or open area, sometimes even in farmer fields all of which is hazardous to safe and healthy living. Government and citizens have to act together to solve for the problem.”

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Innovation: Taking the Neglect out of Neglected Disease

Chances are you’ve never heard of onchocerciasis. Sometimes it’s known by the nickname “river blindness,” but you’ve probably never heard of that, either. Unfortunately, almost 40 million people suffer from it.

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Innovation: Finding the Problems and Solutions in the World Around Us

The invention of a spaceship that can make sophisticated discoveries 140 million miles away is an extraordinary feat on the part of the human race. But there are other extraordinary innovations that don’t require a billion-dollar piece of equipment. Sometimes, all they require is stuff that’s just lying around.

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Celebrating New African Scientific Leadership - Welcome Grand Challenges Africa

Investments in science, technology and entrepreneurship have enabled many of today’s global health and development successes, including an astounding reduction in child mortality and a broadening of access to clean water and sanitation. They have helped to create jobs and wealth, especially for young people. And they have put us on a path toward a life of dignity for all.

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