Unsafe water is a health hazard. Image credit reuters.com

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Population and resources:Population and health

  • Important sources of a country’s health and quality of life are water supply and sanitation.
  • 97% of the world’s water resources is salty water mainly in the seas and oceans.
  • Of the remaining 3%, over 2% is trapped in ice caps and glaciers in cold parts of the world and is therefore no available for human and consumption.
  • Zimbabwe obtains 79.71% of its water from protected sources.
  • 99.1% of the country’s urban population have access to safe water, while 64.3% of the rural population have access to safe water.
  • And 69% of the country’s population lives in rural areas.
  • Accessibility to safe water sources also depends on the distance of the water source from the household.
  • Statistics show that 41% of Zimbabwe’s households have safe water on their premises.
  • The rest have to travel at least 500 metres to fetch water.
  • Waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhea, bilharzia, dysentery and typhoid are therefore prevalent in rural areas of developing countries.
  • Diseases like cholera and typhoid are also a constant problem in High Density suburbs of urban areas like Zengeza in Chitungwiza and Mbare in Harare
  • Poor sanitation facilities in the developing countries also contribute to the prevalence of disease in those countries.
  • 0.88% of people without toilet facilities live in urban areas and 52.39% are in the rural areas of Zimbabwe.
  • Although the percentage of those without toilets declined from 48% in 1982 to 28.34% in 2002, sanitation related diseases are still prevalent in rural areas of developing countries like Zimbabwe.
  • In 1997, the World Health Organisation (WHO) targeted the year 2000 for the world’s government to provide basic health for their populations.
  • The needs include clean water, adequate sanitation, housing, employment and medical care.
  • Though four million of the world’s children die of diarrhea and effects of starvation every year, and six million die of common child killer diseases like measles, whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria, tuberculosis and malaria.
  • A lot of effort is being made through national immunization programs.
  • Education programs on health care and personal hygiene have improved the standard of health in developing countries.
  • Raising the general standard of education among women, have done much to improve the standard of living countries.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page