Many people around the world are served by health care facilities that lack the essentials for safe quality care including water, sanitation, hygiene materials and the right waste segregation.
One in four health care facilities lack basic water services and one in five has no sanitation services – impacting 2.0 billion and 1.5 billion people, respectively.
42% of facilities globally have no hand hygiene at points of care and 40% globally have no systems for waste segregation.
WASH has been recognized as a prerequisite for the safe management of childbirth. The UN Secretary-General’s call to action stated the need to elevate the importance of, and prioritize action on, WASH in ALL health care facilities.
Without leadership and commitments from all levels (governments, international organizations, private sector and donors, civil society, health care sector), the targets set for WASH in health care facilities will never be fully realized.
Eight practical steps have been identified that countries can take at the national and sub-national level to improve WASH in health care facilities. These steps include actions such as developing national roadmaps and setting targets, improving infrastructure and maintenance, and engaging communities.
Read WHO/UNICEF (2019) WASH in health care facilities: Practical steps for universal access to quality care for more information on the eight steps and examples of where countries have been using them.