Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities are fundamental for the provision of quality, people-centered care. Such services also reduce health care-related infections, increase trust and uptake of services, increase efficiency and decrease cost of service delivery and improve staff morale. All major initiatives to improve global health depend on basic WASH services in health care facilities.
In low- and middle-income countries, WASH services in many health care facilities are absent. Data from 54 countries, representing 66,101 facilities show that 38% of health care facilities do not have an improved water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing. This lack of services compromises the ability to provide safe and quality care and places both those providing and those seeking care at considerable and preventable risk.
Urgent action is needed to improve WASH services and practices in health care facilities. WHO, UNICEF and partners committed at a global meeting in March 2015 to address the situation.
The vision is to provide access to WASH services in all facilities, in all settings by 2030, with a special attention to the needs of women, girls and children.