The world Bank Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) has disclosed an annual premature death of 3,000 Liberians from diarrhea, including 1,800 children under age 5 due to poor sanitation. WSP says Liberia’s economy loses US$17.5 million annually due to poor sanitation.
According to a release issued in Monrovia Tuesday by WSP, health related costs accounted for about 40.6 percent of the total economic costs, while access time and productivity losses accounted for about 11.3 percent.
Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist Yolande Coombes is quoted in the release as saying, “We know for some time about the impact of poor sanitation on health, but this is one of the first studies to quantify the annual costs incurred because of poor sanitation.” Coombes believes that Liberia will not be able to grow sustainably without addressing these costs.
Notwithstanding, the study revealed that1.2 million Liberians use unsanitary or shared latrines, while 1.7 million have no latrines and defecate in the open, noting the poorest quintile is seven times more likely to practice open defecation than the richest.