These stats might put things in perspective.
In the U.S., the average life expectancy for women is 81. In Uganda, it is 58.
That is a 23-year difference (World Health Organization). For men, it's a 20-year difference: age 76 in the U.S. and 56 in Uganda.
Of course there are so many other statistics that highlight the differences between these two countries.
Take dropout rates, for example:
Stark difference, right? Well, the difference is actually more stark than that: The 7% in the U.S. refers to students dropping out of high school (Pew). The 68% in Uganda is students dropping out of primary school (UNESCO).
Many of these stats — and much of Ugandan life — are heavily influenced by Uganda's water crisis.
Because so often access to water and sanitation is what it all comes down to. Without that, you lose nearly everything else. If you have to spend multiple hours each day gathering water for your family, you're unlikely to stay in school. If the water you drink is likely to carry bacteria that will make you sick, you probably won'tlive past your 50s.
So how do the water stats compare between these two countries?
By "clean water," I technically mean an "improved" water source. The percentage of these populations (WHO) that lack improved water sources likely still have access to unimproved sources, such as unprotected wells, water trucks, or surface water.
Again, these are the percentages of the populations lacking access to improved sanitation (WHO). Unimproved sanitation, which is what 65% of Ugandans have, includes such things as toilets that aren't properly hooked up, buckets, shared facilities, or no facilities at all.
Without access to improved water and sanitation, what does life look like?
Take a look at this video for a glimpse of life in one rural Ugandan community.[vimeo_embed https://player.vimeo.com/video/120731761?color=67b4d2&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]
FACT CHECK TIME!
- We double-checked each of the stats listed in this post and cited them in-line. If you're super observant, you may notice that our numbers differ a bit from the numbers listed by the organization who made the video (on their website). Feel free to check out our sources if the differences are keeping you up at night.
- The video itself says that every day, 2,200 children around the world die from water-related illnesses. That number is just a bit out of date. As of 2014, about 2,000 children around the world die each day from water-related illnesses.