WHO, UNICEF Report Lack of WASH in Health Care Facilities
UN Photo/Martine Perret
story highlights

UNICEF and WHO published a global assessment of water, sanitation and hygiene and a companion report outlining practical steps to achieve universal access to quality care.

WHO anticipates that governments at the 2019 World Health Assembly in May will consider adopting a resolution on WASH in health care facilities.

3 April 2019: The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), through their Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP), launched the first global assessment of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities. The assessment finds that one in five health care facilities has no sanitation and one in four lacks basic water services.

The report titled, ‘WASH in Health Care Facilities: Global Baseline Report 2019,’ also provides statistics on the availability of handwashing facilities, waste disposal, and environmental cleaning services in health care facilities around the world. The report follows the release of a similar report on WASH in schools in 2018.

Around 896 million people use health care facilities with no water services at all.

The JMP’s focus on WASH in health care aims at reducing hospital infections, limiting the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and promoting safe childbirth. According to the report, the problems are particularly serious in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where just over half of all health care facilities have basic water services. The JMP estimates that in every region of the world, WASH services in health care facilities are “sub-standard.” The JMP reports that around 896 million people use health care facilities with no water services at all, and 1.5 billion people use facilities with no sanitation service.

The Global Baseline Report 2019 was released with a companion report titled, ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Health Care Facilities: Practical Steps to Achieve Universal Access to Quality Care.’ The companion report notes that more than one million deaths each year are associated with infections from unsanitary birth experiences. It highlights eight actions that governments can take to improve WASH services, such as establishing national plans, improving infrastructure and maintenance, and engaging communities.

UNICEF and WHO are the co-custodians of SDG targets 6.1 and 6.2 on safe water and sanitation, and are responsible for monitoring and supporting progress. WASH is also considered essential for achieving SDG target 3.8 on universal health coverage. WHO anticipates that governments at the 2019 World Health Assembly in May will consider adopting a resolution on WASH in health care facilities. [Publication: WASH in Health Care Facilities: Global Baseline Report 2019] [Publication: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Health Care Facilities: Practical Steps to Achieve Universal Access to Quality Care] [Publication Landing Page] [UN-Water News Story] [UNICEF Press Release] [WHO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Global Baseline Report on WASH in Schools]

related posts