The event attracted over 80 individuals from all regions and included presentations on the global status and action plan for WASH in health care facilities, the national Ethiopian initiative “CASH” to improve the cleanliness and safety in all facilities and the critical role of WASH in achieving Universal Health Coverage along with the importance of joint action to build on the SDG momentum. The second half involved a panel discussion with representatives from Ministry of Health Ethiopia, World Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, DFID, and WaterAid who highlighted the role of Health Sector leadership coupled with technical and political support from the WASH Sector, the need to embed WASH in health care facilities in national health plans and policies and the ongoing challenges of changing behaviour and attitudes towards hygiene and cleanliness among health staff and patients/visitors.
During the Sustainable Development Summit in New York, Global Health Council and international NGO WaterAid hosted an event to demonstrate the role of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in supporting health systems, and discuss practical proposals for improving the quality of care. The event highlighted the need for ambitious and holistic consideration of WASH in the Global Goals indicator framework, through the exploration of real-world examples from disease outbreaks, maternal health, and other experiences from around the world. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Princess Sarah Zeid opened the event with keynote remarks that underscored the importance of the linkages between WASH and health. The event was capped off with a high-level panel with representatives from WHO, GE Foundation and International Medical Corps, as well as a midwife from Uganda who provided a field perspective and insight into civil society’s role in holding governments accountable.