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Around 1.8bn People Lacks Basic WASH Provisions: Report by WHO, UNICEF

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Almost 2 billion people depend on health care facilities without basic water servicesIn accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, “Fundamentals first: Universal water, sanitation, and hygiene services in health care facilities for safe, quality care” around 1.8 billion people are at heightened risk of COVID-19 and other diseases because of lack of WASH provision. WASH stands for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

  • WASH is vital to the safety of health workers and patients but no steps are taken for its prioritization.
  • The report covered statistics for 165 countries from surveys representing 760,000 facilities.

Key Points:

–Globally, 1 in 4 health care facilities has no water services, 1 in 3 does not have access to hand hygiene where care is provided, 1 in 10 has no sanitation services, and 1 in 3 does not segregate waste safely.

–The situation is worst of all in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

–The report estimated that roughly USD 1 per capita is required to enable all 47 LDCs to establish basic water service in health facilities. On average, USD 0.20 per capita is needed each year to operate and maintain services. This all adds up to a return of USD 1.5 for every dollar invested.

Four main recommendations provided by report:

–Implement costed national roadmaps with appropriate financing;

–Monitor and regularly review progress in improving WASH services

–Develop capacities of health workforce to sustain WASH services and promote and practice good hygiene;

–Integrate WASH into regular health sector planning, budgeting, and programming

Point to be noted:

Global WASH and health partners are supporting WASH in health care facility targets. By 2020, over 130 partners have committed resources, of which 34 have made dedicated financial commitments totalling USD125 million.

Recent Related News:

i.WHO listed nOPV2 (novel Oral Polio Vaccine type 2) Polio vaccine produced by Indonesia’s Bio Farma PT for Emergency Use Listing (EUL), this is the first approval by WHO of its kind amidst several outbreaks in several parts of the world.

ii.United Nations (UN) World Children’s Day is observed annually on November 20 to promote international togetherness and awareness among children globally. This day is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.

About World Health Organization (WHO):
Director General – Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Headquarters – Geneva, Switzerland

About United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
Executive Director – Henrietta Holsman Fore
Headquarter – New York, United States (US)