HL Deb 20 July 2004 vol 664 c23WA
Baroness Gale

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the relationship between the millennium development target to reduce the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds and similar targets for halving the proportion of people without safe water or basic sanitation. [HL3490]

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos)

The millennium targets to reduce under-five mortality and to reduce the proportion of people without safe water and basic sanitation are very closely linked. Unsafe water and poor sanitation causes high rates of diarrhoeal disease. Use of powdered milk and unsafe water instead of breastfeeding contributes to diarrhoeal disease in infants.

Diarrhoeal disease is a major contributor to child mortality globally and also to high levels of under-nutrition. Provision of effective healthcare, whether in the home, the community or through formal health institutions (adequate rehydration and specific drug treatment where indicated) can treat the problem and prevent death from diarrhoea. However, it does not address the direct cause of diarrhoea. Significant progress in reducing the burden of diarrhoeal disease will only be achieved through the integrated provision of safe water, in or as near to the house as possible, sanitation and hygiene promotion.