WaterAid Nigeria produced a documentary for the Hygiene for Health Campaign which focuses on Primary Healthcare Centres in Abuja. The film was led by WaterAid, with support from partners under the Hygiene for Health Campaign.

The film 'First Line of Defence: A spotlight on water sanitation and hygiene in primary healthcare facilities' includes firsthand stories from patients and healthcare workers in Abuja, Nigeria. According to the 2021 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene National Outcome Routine Mapping Survey, 91% of healthcare facilities in Abuja lack clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene. This powerful documentary highlights how this affects patients and healthcare workers, but also the positive impact when good access to WASH is implemented in healthcare facilities.

The Hygiene for Health Campaign was carried out as a collaboration between WaterAid and UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, the Federal Capital Territory Primary Health Care Board, and the National Primary Health Care Development Authority. The campaign recorded two major achievements: the development and launch of a National Guideline for WASH in Healthcare Facilities, which WaterAid Nigeria co-created with UNICEF, the Federal Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, and the development and launch of a National Roadmap for Hand Hygiene in Nigeria.

Watch the full documentary below:

Everyone, everywhere has the right to clean water and soap to wash their hands. We call on health and finance ministers to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene to improve health, safeguard against infectious diseases, and protect communities from future health crises.

We have all seen how healthcare systems and economies around the world have struggled to cope in the face of COVID-19. In the poorest countries, the pandemic has highlighted the alarming state of healthcare facilities, including major gaps in the availability of water, sanitation and hygiene services. These are the most basic requirements for providing safe, quality and dignified healthcare, which everyone deserves.

Healthcare facilities and communities need access to water, sanitation and hygiene to keep people safe: to prevent and control infections, to protect mothers and babies during childbirth, to curb the rise of antimicrobial resistance, and to protect us all from future health crises.

Despite all the suffering caused by COVID-19, and the threat of emerging and future health crises, governments are yet to invest properly in water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities and communities. Investments could ensure resilient health systems and healthy populations, unlock trillions of dollars in economic benefits, and help lift millions out of poverty.

Instead, an estimated 2.3 billion people are at risk of contracting infectious diseases simply because they don’t have handwashing facilities at home, and 1.7 billion people risk illness because they use or work in a healthcare facility without basic water services. 

No healthcare centre should run without access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, no matter how small or how remotely located they are. However, in a lot of healthcare centres in Nigeria, this is sadly the case.

41% of healthcare facilities in Nigeria, do not have basic water supply services, 88% do not have decent toilets, and 70% lack basic hygiene services.

We hope to use this documentary and technical assessments in primary healthcare centres in select states, including the Federal Capital Territory, to advocate for increased government investment in safe, inclusive, gender-responsive and sustainable WASH facilities and health care facilities in Nigeria.

The time to act is Now!