THE SACOSAN PROGRAM
ENDEVOR Executive Director Dr Abdul Sattar Yooosuf was the chief guest at the Consultation meeting for inclusion of the voices of community groups at SACOSAN VI, that was held in the Maldives National University (MNU auditorium) on 17th November 2015. The meeting was sponsored by Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and Freshwater Action Network (FAN) and hosted by WaterCare - Maldives.
Participants were from various social groups such as women, those with special physical needs, sanitation construction workers, the elderly, and students. The gathering slated as a one-day meeting sought to gather the various concerns of these above community groups so that these could be taken to the SACOSAN meeting of the South East Asia countries that will be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in January 2016.
The finalization of the SACOSAN Plan of action for the next medium term will include these voices of the community in the formulation of their next phase of work to support member countries. Dr Yoosuf highlighted the importance of sanitation to Maldives and the huge toll of diseases that lack of it posed for the Maldivian community in the past especially for children. The IMR was in the 130s when Maldives first began action on water and sanitation infrastructure during the 1970s. Then in 1978 the cholera epidemic affected 15,000 people and took 250 lives. This was the beginning of sanitation related health regulations in Maldives that stalled the spread of diarrheal diseases and brought life back into the faces of children. The trend from then on was to drink rainwater rather that ground well water. The IMR plummeted in the next 25 years to less than 20.