Global Health Observatory (GHO) data

Use of improved sanitation facilities

Situation and trends

95 countries or territories met MDG target for sanitation, leaving 100 countries or territories missing the target. Globally the target was missed by almost 700 million people, and still 2.4 billion people lacked access to improved sanitation in 2015.

A staggering 946 million people (13% of the world population) remain with no access to toilets, latrines or any form of sanitation facility, and therefore practise open defecation, resulting in high levels of environmental contamination and exposure to the risks of microbial infections, diarrhoeal diseases (including cholera), trachoma, schistosomiasis and hepatitis. 849 million of them live in rural areas.

Considerable progress however has been made – more than 2.1 billion people gained access to improved sanitation facilities between 1990 and 2015. Urban-rural disparities persist: 70% of the gains in access were in the urban areas, and 7 out of 10 people that do not have access to an improved sanitation facility, live in rural areas.

The 2015 report from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, also known as the JMP ( also shows striking socio-economic disparities shedding on the poor and disadvantaged groups of people, highlighting the urgency to address these. It also gives underscores achievements made in monitoring the WASH sector in the last 25 years since its inception in 1990, as well as how it is laying the foundations for post-2015 monitoring.