chapter  6
Hygiene and Sanitation Conditions in West and Central Africa
Pages 26

This chapter explains the need to eradicate hygiene and sanitation problems as a socio-economic development strategy. It draws attention to the importance of sanitation as an issue with implications that go far beyond health. The narrow focus of colonial hygiene and sanitation policies and the fact that they were transplanted from Europe is certainly one reason for their failure in Africa. Hygiene and sanitation conditions affect human development, and by extension, national socio-economic development, in multiple ways. Improved sanitation conditions have also been tied to levels of school attendance. Thus, children are likely to be motivated to attend school if the school environment is clean than otherwise. Apart from their direct impact on the health of women, improved sanitation conditions contribute significantly to national economic development. The lack or scarcity of say, water facilities thus increases the domestic burden of women and girls. More importantly, sanitation has been linked to issues of social empowerment, equity and gender.