WaterAid statement on the World Health Assembly 2020 Resolution

19 May 2020

We welcome the World Health Assembly’s inclusion of the importance of clean water and hygiene in the Resolution on the global response to COVID-19, and the acknowledgement of the huge gaps in access to these basic services that currently exist. Three billion people have nowhere to wash their hands with soap and water at home, and many doctors and nurses in developing countries work in a healthcare centre without the most basic hygiene provision.  

Despite this, we are yet to see any significant action, with hardly any additional money released and hygiene mostly absent from the large number of commitments made by donors. Vaccines and therapeutics are clearly essential in ending this pandemic, but until they are available the only defence we have against COVID-19 is prevention.   

Investments in water, hygiene and effective handwashing are critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives. We call on all member states to stand in solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, support a transparent and cohesive World Health Organization (WHO) response, and prioritise investments in clean water and hygiene.

Tim Wainwright

CEO WaterAid UK