Nearly 900 million people lack basic water services at their health care facility
A new report, published 3rd April, found that one in four health facilities lack basic water services, impacting almost two billion people.
The report is the first of its kind, providing a comprehensive assessment of WASH in health care facilities around the world.
Many health centres lack basic hand hygiene facilities, as well as safe segregation and disposal of health care waste. Such facilities are essential in preventing infections, reducing the spread of disease, and to ensure safe and healthy child birth.
António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, said:
“Water, sanitation and hygiene services in health facilities are the most basic requirements of infection prevention and control, and of quality care. They are fundamental to respecting the dignity and human rights of every person who seeks health care and of health workers themselves. I call on people everywhere to support action for WASH in all health care facilities. This is essential to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Just over half of all health facilities in the least developed countries provide basic water services. 896 million people have no water service at their health care facility, according to the report.
In an accompanying report, WHO and UNICEF researchers note that more than one million deaths each year are associated with unclean births. Infections account for 26% of neonatal deaths and 11% of maternal mortality.
Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, said:
“When a baby is born in a health facility without adequate water, sanitation and hygiene, the risk of infection and death for both the mother and the baby is high. Every birth should be supported by a safe pair of hands, washed with soap and water, using sterile equipment, in a clean environment.”
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Photo: U.S. Airforce / Nesha Humes