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News Reviewing Joint Monitoring Programme on Reporting the Progress for MDGs-Research

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”
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.”
After doing a thorough research on the monitoring mechanism process of JMP that reports country progress on water and sanitation we find that there are areas of improvement in JMP mechanism itself. For this purpose we take example from India on JMP mechanism. India as in other parts of world, JMP process reports the progress in safe drinking water provisions and basic sanitation facilities under MDGs framework. Here in India, the JMP rely 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 needed 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. However, the focus of NFHS being Health and Family planning, scientifically it needs to be reviewed that how much importance has been given to the information elicited on water supply and sanitation. As the whole process of study/research methodology i.e. sampling design, population coverage, sample size, study tools, etc. looks in the issues of Health, Family Planning and HIV Aids. 
Therefore we concluded that, one need to closely compare the ‘core questions provided on drinking-water and sanitation’ for household surveys under JMP guidelines and Water and Sanitation related tools provided in NFHS, and also review scientifically the study methodology of NFHS that has no focus on water and sanitation coverage. 
From the review it is evident that, in NFHS / DHS, the sampling design provides estimates for demographic and health indicators and not on water supply and sanitation (Read note at the end of this article). The determination of the overall sample size is also governed by the magnitude of the key indicators, the desired level of precision of the estimates, etc.. So, it is more about producing population and health indicators at both the national and state levels. It has been found one of the major limitations of NFHS or DHS data, which, at present is being used under JMP to show progress of a country on MDG target 7c, so a limitation of JMP data itself.
It is also recorded that, the appropriate probing on questions another issue in NFHS /DHS survey, as one can’t be sure, whether enough probing or questions are incorporated to elicit detailed information about drinking water and sanitation status.
Therefore, it is recommended that JMP should make use of surveys exclusively carried out to assess the water and sanitation coverage in developing countries, to have accurate evidences on the achievements in Water Supply and Sanitation. The NFHS/DHS data could be taken as cursory assessment, but not as full fledge reliable data source on of a country’s situation in water and sanitation coverage.

Contact information K N Vajpai (Climate Himalaya Initiative); Theme Leader Climate Himalaya Initiative O/O Prakriti a mountain environment group P.O. Silli, Agastyamuni, District-Rudraprayag Uttarakhand India 246 121 (email: ; ; )
News type Inbrief
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Source of information The JMP (Joint Monitoring Programme) for Water Supply and Sanitation
Geographical coverage n/a
News date 06/04/2011
Working language(s) ENGLISH