World Health
Assembly 2016

Geneva, 23-28 May 2016

About the World Health Assembly 2016

The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO), and brings together all UN Member States in Geneva each year to discuss key global health issues.

For more information, visit the WHO website >

WaterAid at the World Health Assembly

We promoted our Healthy Start campaign at the sixty-ninth session of the Assembly.

Healthy Start aims to improve the health and nutrition of newborn babies and children by advocating for access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to be integrated into health policy and delivered locally, national and internationally.

Clean drinking water, a proper toilet and soap for handwashing are all basics that many take for granted. But shockingly, millions of the world's poorest still do not have access to them, which has a devastating impact on their health:

  • Four babies die every five minutes in Sub-Saharan Africa or Southern Asia from preventable diseases such as sepsis, meningitis or tetanus – all infections linked to an unclean environment.
  • It is estimated that 42% of healthcare facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 38% in low- and middle-income countries, do not have access to clean, safe water.
  • 50% of undernutrition is associated with diarrhoeal diseases or intestinal worm infections as a result of poor access to WASH.

At the World Health Assembly, WaterAid held discussions on the vital importance of WASH to achieving health for all and ending malnutrition by 2030.

It was also an important opportunity for us to engage with key health sector influencers, including high-level representatives of health ministries, UN agencies, academic institutions, NGOs and other civil society organisations and networks.

For live updates from WaterAid at the Assembly, please follow us on Twitter @wateraid.

All official NGO statements from the Assembly, including ours, are available here. Click below to read our statements on the following topics:

Healthy Start

Healthy Start: the first month of life

In the year the world replaces the Millennium Development Goals with the Sustainable Development Goals, it is time to ensure that the next generation of children is given the best start in life – a healthy start. Available to download in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

A midwife in Tanzania holding a baby. Parallel lives: experience life as a midwife

This interactive film allows you to experience a day in the life of a midwife in the UK, and in Tanzania, showing the difference that access to clean, safe water, sanitation and hygiene can make in a maternity ward.

The Ultimate Pregnancy TestThe Ultimate Pregnancy Test

For millions of women around the world, pregnancy is a time of fear and uncertainty, because delivering without access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene means a deadly risk of infection for them and their baby.