Improving the quality of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) has a proven transformative impact on Tanzania's social and economic development. This was highlighted during the launch of the 18th Tanzania Economic Update (TEU) which focused on the theme: Clean Water, Bright Future: The Transformative Impact of Investing in WASH.
The EfD Tanzania researcher Julieth Tibanywana represented the University of Dar es Salaam School of Economics (UDSoEC) at the forum. It was organized by the World Bank in Tanzania and attended by various stakeholders including policymakers, researchers, private sector actors, representatives from international agencies, and non-government organizations. It took place on February 13, 2023, at the Kilimanjaro Hyatt Regency Hotel, Dar es Salaam.
The special section of the 18th TEU was based on an analysis that mainly focuses on the economic impacts of water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). The report stated that Tanzania has made significant progress in recent years in improving access to WASH services. However, still only 61 percent of households have access to basic water supply, 32 percent to basic sanitation, and 48 percent to basic hygiene.
Julieth Tibanywana, whose main research area is water resources in developing countries and specifically, Tanzania pointed to the vast geographic spread as one of the main challenges to access to clean water and sanitation in the country. The resulting long-distance travel to fetch water, especially in rural areas has a negative impact on the social and economic development of the country.
For instance, high rates of school dropouts among girls have been linked to the long time they spend getting water, and even more, clean water. She added that poor access to clean water has also been the main cause of diseases such as cholera. The populations most affected by poor sanitation live in extreme poverty, particularly in peri-urban and rural areas.
She recommended that there must be established a routine for monitoring rural water supply, with the development of a monitoring system and improved household sanitation. In addition, there is a need to improve the monitoring of household hygiene practices and WASH in schools and health facilities.