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The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Children's Fund (UNICEF) have called on the global community to increase investment in the development of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in order to more effectively fight infectious diseases.

In a report published on Tuesday in Geneva, they note with dismay that 2.2 billion people do not have access to save drinking water, 4.2 billion do not have access to proper sanitary services, and 3 billion people are unable to wash their hands with soap at home, TASS reported.

WHO and UNICEF together monitor the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals related to drinking water and sanitation. From their current report, prepared under the Joint Monitoring Program, it is clear that, despite significant progress in advancing humankind’s universal access to WASH, there are still huge gaps in the quality of the services provided.

According to the report, since 2000, 1.8 billion people have gained access to basic water supply services, and 2 billion to sanitation. At the same time, there is a widespread disparity in the accessibility, availability and quality of these services. According to UN estimates, 785 million people do not have basic water supply services, of which 144 million are forced to drink water from rivers, lakes and other watercourses and water bodies, which has not been decontaminated.

More than twice since 2000 - from 23 to 9% - the proportion of the population practicing open detection in the world has decreased, the report says. In 23 countries, this phenomenon in the twenty-first century, in fact, faded away. However, for 673 million people on the planet, the situation remains the same. In 39 countries, there has been an increase in open fault detection since 2000, mainly in the countries south of the Sahara, where the population has increased during this time.

Washing hands with soap at home does not have the ability of 3 billion people, WHO and UNICEF noted. In the least developed countries, nearly three-quarters of the inhabitants are deprived of this opportunity. The report says that every year about 297 thousand children under the age of five die from diarrhea, which is a consequence of the lack of proper sanitation and hygiene.

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