Global under-five mortality has fallen from 93 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 72 per 1,000 in 2005 – a decline of 22.5% – but the pace of progress has been uneven across regions and countries. The decline has been slowest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malnutrition accounts for about a third of the disease burden in low- and middle income countries.
Lack of access to adequate, safe food, partly related to water resources management, is one cause of malnutrition, but up to 50% of malnutrition is related to repeated diarrhea or intestinal nematode infections as a result of unclean water, inadequate sanitation or poor hygiene.
Of the estimated 350-500 million clinical disease episodes occurring annually, around 60% are in sub-Saharan Africa, as are 80% of the deaths. Most of the more than 1 million Africans who die from malaria each year are children under age five.
How much malaria could be eliminated by managing the environment – by eliminating stagnant water bodies, modifying reservoir contours, introducing drainage or improving irrigation management – differs across regions with variations in vector habitats, with a global average of 42%.
The section “Did You Know…?” is taken from the 3rd World Water Development Report “Water in a Changing World“.