DAR-ES-SALAAM -- The World Bank says Tanzania has achieved significant economic growth, averaging 6.5 per cent over the past decade, but says more needs to be done in expanding and sustaining basic water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) coverage.

The Bank says that with a modest reduction in poverty from 34 per cent to 28 per cent between 2007 and 2012, more than 23 million people still get their drinking water from unimproved sources, and 41 million people use unimproved sanitation facilities.

Tanzania will need to invest more in WASH facilities if it is to achieve the relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), improve human development outcomes, and accelerate poverty reduction, according to a new WASH Poverty Diagnostic report published by the Bank.

The report, entitled "Reaching for the SDGs: The Untapped Potential of Tanzania's Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector", notes that SDG 6 challenges countries to reach universal access to safely managed water and sanitation by 2030; while the Goal's six targets are inextricably linked with other targets, including ending extreme poverty, ending forms of malnutrition and reducing infant mortality.

Adequate WASH coverage is a crucial component of basic human necessities that allows a person to thrive in life, according to World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Somalia and Burundi, Bella Bird.

Outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne illnesses not only overburden health systems and increase premature deaths; they also leave a negative mark on the individual's social mobility, health, quality of life, and their human capital. We are pleased to be a partner with the Government - our current and forthcoming water and sanitation programmes will help advance the WASH agenda, she said.

The Tanzania WASH Poverty Diagnostic is part of a multi-partner Global WASH Poverty Diagnostic initiative being implemented in 18 countries across regions. Its objectives are to highlight the priority gaps in WASH access; identify those regions and population groups that are most deprived of higher-quality WASH services; demonstrate how investment in WASH can aid poverty reduction and human development strategies; and identify the major institutional constraints that hold back effective WASH service delivery.