‘Investment in water, sanitation and hygiene is critical in fight against silent killer of millions’

Posted by
Anna Ford
20 January 2022
WaterAid/ Prashanth Vishwanathan

In response to an article in the Lancet, which estimated some 1.27 million people died of drug resistant infections caused by bacteria in 2019 alone, WaterAid released the below statement:


Claire Seaward, WaterAid Global Campaigns Director, said:

“Anti-microbial resistance is a silent killer of millions across the globe, but the double tragedy is many people could have been saved by the basics of clean water, sanitation and good hygiene (WASH), which is critical to prevent and control the spread of drug resistant infections.

“World leaders and national governments must take urgent action against this often overlooked emergency and invest in WASH in the poorest countries - especially in healthcare centres - to stop the spread of preventable infections in the first place.

“COVID-19 and Ebola have been stark warnings. Failure to learn and to act on them will make pandemics the new norm and will effectively sign the death warrant of millions of men, women and children for generations to come.”


For more information or interviews contact:

Anna Ford, News Manager [email protected] or Rik Goverde, Global Head of Media [email protected]

Or the out of hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552, or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 28 million people with clean water and nearly 29 million people with decent toilets.

For more information, visit our website wateraid.org/uk, follow us on Twitter @WaterAidUK, @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress, or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

  • 771 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 290,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]