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Aid system failing developing countries' clean water

AID TO improve water and sanitation in developing counties is seriously lagging behind investment in health and education, a senior of cial at charity WaterAid has said.

Senior policy ofcer Henry Northover told NCEI: 'There's something wrong with the aid system when 20 jumbo jets full of children are dying everyday [because of poor water and sanitation facilities] and schools are still being built without adequate sanitation.' His comments came one year on from the Gleaneagles summit at which leaders of the G8 group pledged to increase aid to developing countries by $49.3bn by 2010.

But Northover warned that the money was not always spent wisely.

He added that the upshot of this was that girls dropped out of school early, or were denied an education altogether in favour of taking up water-fetching duties for their families.

'This has the added effect of stopping women from getting jobs, forcing them to look after children who are dying from diarrhoea, ' said Northover.

The main problem is that improving water and sanitation requires '10 years of stable and sustainable funding with viable energy systems, and a public sector that can diagnose problems in the service if they occur - it's much more complex than giving a polio jab', he said.

To read Gleneagles: One year on, turning talk into action, go to www. nceplus. co. uk

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