The latest data (2021) highlights major global gaps in WASH services
Half of health care facilities do not have basic hygiene services
One in five health care facilities lack basic water services
One in ten health care facilities have no sanitation services
Globally, 3.85 billion people lacked a basic hygiene service at their health care facility, 1.7 billion people lacked a basic water service at their health care facility, and 780 million people had no improved toilets at their health care facility
Across the world’s 46 Least Developed Countries, the problem is much greater: half of health care facilities lack basic water services. Furthermore, the extent of the problem remains hidden because major gaps in data persist, especially on environmental cleaning.
- Implement costed national roadmaps with appropriate financing.
- Monitor and regularly review progress in improving WASH services, practices and the enabling environment.
- Develop capacities of the health workforce to sustain WASH services and promote and practice good hygiene.
- Integrate WASH into regular health sector planning, budgeting and programming to deliver quality services, including COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.
The pandemic is a reminder of the intimate and delicate relationship between people and the planet. Any efforts to make our world safer are doomed to fail unless they address the critical interface between people and pathogens, and the existential threat of climate change, that is making our Earth less habitable.WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Address To The 73Rd World Health Assembly (18Th May 2020).
Eight Practical Steps to Achieve Universal Access to Quality Care
Conduct situational analysis of enabling environment for WASH in health care facilities (specifically health and WASH policies, governance structures, institutional arrangements, funding streams and stakeholders). Assess WASH coverage and compliance.
Set detailed targets (with a national costed roadmap) to address gaps, and estimate costs (capital investments, rehabilitation and recurrent costs). A joint WASH and health taskforce or technical working group is an effective mechanism to help set these targets and develop a roadmap.
Related resources: Ghana National Strategy for WASH-IPC in HCF
Develop standards (a set of requirements that dictate the infrastructure and resources necessary to provide sustainable WASH services) and implement using accountability mechanisms (regulation, accreditation, licensing, community scorecards, feedback mechanisms).
Select, install, operate, maintain and improve WASH infrastructure, (including through use of WASH FIT) to ensure sufficient, functioning WASH services are available.
Related resources: Case studies of WASH FIT implementation
Track the status or progress of WASH interventions by monitoring and reviewing indicators on a regular basis, including through national health monitoring information systems.
Related resources: Uganda HMIS Review Report
Give community members and organizations agency in decision-making and management of services to ensure that health care facilities provide the level of care that citizens deserve and expect.
Related resources: Focus Group Discussions in Indonesia
Generate evidence to understand the problem and what to do about it and scale-up proven improvement approaches.
Water, sanitation and hygiene is a fundamental human right. There is no place where such services are more important, than in health care facilities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic which is ravaging our communities. I call on all countries and national authorities to act now and invest in universal WASH in health care facilities.
Madam Fabiola Yáñez, First Lady of Argentina