Nearly 80% of all illness in Bangladesh is related to water and sanitation. The combined rate of enteric diseases in Bangladesh is the highest in the world. 30% of all the deaths of children under 5 are due to diarrhoea, claiming more than 200,000 lives annually. Environmentally sound human waste management, along with personal hygiene awareness, are of critical importance to the prevention of faecal-oral disease transmission. present rural sanitation coverage is about 3%. A national target has been set to ensure that 13% of the rural poor will be covered under the human waste management programme by 1990, the end of the U.N. Water Decade. This however, contrasts with the similar target of 77% for the rural water supply programme, which received higher resource allocation and priority for a much longer period. This lack of correlation between water and sanitation has highly reduced the positive health impact of these developments.

An affordable human waste management programme for the rural people, where 87% of the total population lives under conditions of the greatest poverty and underdevelopment, urgently needs serious and realistic consideration in the context of the limited resource prospects for future years.

This report addresses the above issues and describes the commendable momentum that has been gained through the continuous efforts of national planners and policy makers. It is hoped that this might in the near future, through the rural human waste management programme, produce the long desired continual reduction of faecal-oral disease transmission.

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