26 Jul 2012

UN expert says poor sanitation killing Kiribati's children

7:34 pm on 26 July 2012

An independent United Nations expert says bad sanitation in Kiribati is killing the country's children.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to water and sanitation Catarina de Albuquerque, says she was shocked by the child mortality rate in Kiribati, which is the highest in the Pacific.

Ms de Albuquerque says if Kiribati wants to reduce that rate, then sanitation and hygiene must be urgently addressed.

She says while people in Kiribati traditionally use the sea and bush as toilets, that culture can be changed.

"By explaing to people in a serious manner, what the implications of bad sanitation are. And the consequences are, that they are killing Kiribati's children."

Catarina de Albuquerque says the Kiribati government needs to show political will to address the issues.