Re-viewing JMP on MDGs!

Posted on | maart 31, 2011 | No Comments

The JMP (Joint Monitoring Programme) for Water Supply and Sanitation serves as the official mechanism of the United Nations for monitoring access to drinking-water and sanitation, and for reporting globally on the status of Drinking-Water and Sanitation coverage.

The coverage estimates are used to measure progress towards MDG Target 7c, “To halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation” Link>>

The JMP source says that “Currently the JMP database includes 729 nationally representative household surveys and 152 Censuses. Almost all of these come from developing regions and to a lesser extent from the Commonwealth of Independent States. Since a census in many developed countries is no longer used to collect information on water and sanitation, the JMP largely relies on administratively reported data for the developed countries. The JMP database currently includes 318 administratively reported data for developed countries.” Link>>

Let me quote example from India on JMP data, which reports the progress in safe drinking water provisions and basic sanitation facilities under MDGs framework. I suppose that in India we are relying at two sources or rather one source of information’s (NFHS / DHS).

The first one is the data provided by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) for Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation and for urban areas- Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD). The second source of information is the data provided under DHS (National Family Health Survey-NFHS), which comes in the purview of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). Therefore, these sources could be termed as ‘administratively reported data’ sources from Government as per JMP’s definition.

However, the former sources of information- MoRD / MoUD, which they carry through their respective monitoring divisions, have various collection, monitoring and validation glitches. So this data needs cautious consideration before adopting to report countrywide progress on the coverage of water supply and sanitation.

The subsequent source of information is NFHS (also known as DHS), which has a robust mechanism of data collection, validation and reporting. But, the focus of NFHS being Health and Family planning, one needs to be sure regarding the kind of importance given to the information elicited on water supply and sanitation.

Here we need to closely review the ‘core questions provided on drinking-water and sanitation’ for household surveys (Link>>) under JMP guidelines and Water and Sanitation related tools provided in NFHS. As in this national level survey, the sampling is also designed to provide estimates for demographic and health indicators and not exactly on water supply and sanitation.

Therefore, one can’t be sure, whether enough probing or questions are incorporated to elicit detailed information about drinking water and sanitation. This is one of the important limitations of NFHS or DHS data, which, at present is being used under JMP to show progress of a country on MDG target 7c.

The solution here is that, we need to make use of surveys exclusively carried out to assess the water and sanitation coverage, so that we have accurate evidences on the achievements in Water Supply and Sanitation from developing countries.

AUTHOR: K. N. Vajpai
E-MAIL: knvajpai [at]


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