Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities: driving transformational change for women and girls

WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

WASH in healthcare facilities: an alarming situation In 2019, the release of the first global baseline data on the availability of WASH in healthcare facilities shows an alarming lack of these basic services around the world. While the data represents the first global estimates on WASH in healthcare facilities, and therefore an important step towards monitoring progress towards the SDGs, huge gaps in data remain. The vast majority of countries are unable to monitor their progress on the most basic components of a healthcare facility. For example, only 18 countries out of 200 had sufficient data to estimate coverage of basic sanitation services in healthcare facilities, and very few countries have data on medical waste management.

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Furthermore, gender related considerations for sanitation such as sex-segregation, presence of menstrual hygiene management infrastructure and toilets that met the needs of heavily pregnant women were the most commonly reported reasons why basic sanitation service levels were not met. The lack of regular and consistent monitoring and reporting on WASH services in healthcare settings, disaggregated by facility and location, makes it difficult to understand the specific needs and plan for improvements, all of which undermines progress towards UHC and achieving health improvements for women.

Global Status of WASH in healthcare facilities:

896 million people globally had no water service at their healthcare facility

More than 1.5 billion people globally had no sanitation service at their healthcare facility

1 in 6 healthcare facilities had no place to wash hands with soap and water