New York, US (PANA) – Improving water and sanitation services may be the best answer to addressing the outbreak of the Zika virus, according to United Nations human rights experts, who stress that such critical factors should not be in the shadow of hi-tech solutions being considered.
Highlighting a strong link between weak sanitation systems and the current outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, as well as dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya, he stressed that “the most effective way to tackle this problem is to improve the failing services”.
He noted that Latin America met the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for water in 2010, but the advancements are still not reaching all.
Regarding sanitation, the MDG target remains unachieved and 3 million people still practice open defecation.
“Governments in the region must speed up the improvement of water and sanitation conditions, in particular for the most vulnerable populations, in order to save lives in the face of this unfolding global health crisis,” he urged.
Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, said that when people have inadequate living and housing conditions, where they do not have access to safely managed water services, they tend to store water in unsafe ways that attract mosquitos.