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Dirty water top cause of infant deaths: Experts

Wednesday August 26 2009

By NATION Reporter

Contaminated water kills more Kenyans than malaria and HIV/Aids combined, the government has said.

The revelation supported a report by experts attending an international workshop in Nairobi that 5,000 children under the age of five die everyday in Africa due to dirty water.

Higher Education minister, Dr Sally Kosgei, in a speech read by her PS, Chrispus Kyamba said dirty water led to many deaths through multiple diseases.

Participants heard that in the year 2002 alone 24,000 people died of diarrhoea constituting seven per cent of all deaths including children and adults.

Major obstacle

The experts at the conference in Nairobi University’s Chiromo Campus said effects of dirty water remains a major obstacle to development as diarrhoeal diseases caused 16 per cent mortality to children under the age of five in 2002 - 2003.


“This is more than malaria which caused 14 per cent mortality and HIV/Aids which stands at 15 per cent,” Dr Kosgei said.

The forum which brought together 14 African countries and several others from Asia and Europe was organised by Pan Africa Chemistry Network, Syngenta and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Reports revealed that only 49 per cent of Kenya’s rural areas had sustainable access to improved drinking water while 85 per cent in the urban areas has access to improved drinking water sources.