Renal infections cause 10,000 deaths each year in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: Over 10,000 Pakistanis die every year of renal infections caused by polluted water and some 40 per cent beds in the country’s hospitals are occupied by patients with water-borne diseases. This was stated by experts at a seminar on “Public-Private Partnership in Water and Sanitation: Prospects and Challenges” organised by the Sustainable Policy Development Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. The speakers highlighted the need for participatory public- private partnerships (PPPs) in the country’s water and sanitation sector and sought more government investment in this sector, especially in the rural areas. They said “Clean Drinking Water for All by 2015” was the target of a new initiative of the government, however, in reality, the government was very far from this goal with only two-thirds of population and half of all inhabitants of rural areas having access to clean drinking water.
Wilfried Schlosser from Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, Pakistan, emphasised the involvement of community as a key factor in the success of any development project. He sought the involvement of local community in the development of water and sanitation services in the country. He apprised the participants of Water and Sanitation Extension Programme (WASEP) of Aga Khan Planning and Building Services, which was successfully providing water and sanitation services to the people where the government alone failed. Capacity-building for community-based management was the key to this success, he explained. “We build the infrastructure, ensure water quality, provide trainings, build capacity, monitor the impact and often evaluate the process under the project but the role of local community remained vital in the whole process,” he added. Red-tape, he said, was the main obstacle to the provision of sufficient safe drinking water and sanitation to the people of the Northern Areas. Syed Akbar Zaidi, a development researcher, said that lack of public-private partnerships had brought about failure of the government’s Social Action Programme (SAP) eight years ago.