What's the story?
One in ten hospital patients in low- and middle-income countries pick up an infection while they're receiving healthcare. And treating those infections is getting harder – last year, close to 5 million people lost their lives as a result of drug-resistant "superbugs".
But there's an effective, affordable solution to this growing crisis – making sure every health centre has clean water. That's why we're asking the UK government to champion this strategy at the G7 meetings in May.
Who is paying the price?
If you're being treated at a healthcare centre without basic hygiene services, it's scary. And if you're a healthcare worker forced to deliver that treatment without the means to clean your hands or equipment, it's incredibly stressful.
Pregnant women and newborn babies are particularly at risk – more than a million mothers and babies die each year from infections linked to unclean births.
Drug-resistant infections also spread rapidly, and across borders – right here in the UK they're already costing the NHS at least £180 million a year.
What are we calling for?
We’re calling on the UK government to be a global leader and champion clean water, sanitation and hygiene in every health facility worldwide.
Later this month, Health Ministers and leaders will come together at the G7 to discuss global priorities. As COVID-19 demonstrated so devastatingly, infectious diseases do not know borders. The growing crisis of drug-resistant infections is a "silent pandemic" – and can only be tackled through a coordinated, global response. The G7 meetings are an opportunity for the UK government to drive this response.
How do clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene help protect people against infections?
When hospitals and clinics are unclean because they don’t have access to clean water, infectious diseases can spread rapidly. This can leave healthcare workers in some countries with no choice but to over-prescribe antibiotics. Investing in clean water and good hygiene in healthcare facilities reduces the risk of infections spreading in the first place and also therefore reduces the demand for antibiotics, breaking the chain of infection and lowering the opportunity for resistant infections to become a global health threat.