Ellie Simmonds launches WaterAid’s Water Means Life appeal to bring water and toilets to healthcare facilities

Posted by
Rachel Sewell
15 November 2022
WaterAid/ Brendan Foster

WaterAid is addressing the global tragedy of one in four healthcare facilities with no access to clean water 

British Paralympic swimmer and Strictly come Dancing star Ellie Simmonds OBE is today launching WaterAid’s new appeal, Water Means Life, aiming to bring life-changing access to clean water, decent toilets and hygiene facilities to healthcare centres in Mozambique and around the world. 

Through its appeal, WaterAid will help tackle the global hygiene crisis in healthcare centres across the world. Currently one in four healthcare centres have no clean water on site and almost half of health care centres have no basic handwashing facilities, putting staff and patients at a greater risk of getting ill.  

Patients are dying needlessly; nurses and doctors are at risk and there is a higher threat of future pandemics.  

Ellie has seen the reality of life without clean water when visiting Uganda with WaterAid;  

“It is unthinkable that nearly half the global population, or 3.85 billion people, have to use or work in a healthcare centre without basic hygiene facilities. People are dying when they are seeking or delivering care simply because they do not have access to clean water to wash their hands. We are lucky to feel safe in our healthcare system, knowing, at the very least that we will be treated in hygienic surroundings with access to clean water to drink and wash with, and decent toilets.  

When I visited Uganda with WaterAid I saw first-hand the life changing difference clean water has on whole communities. It is a basic human need; we all need water to survive which is why I’m proud to support WaterAid and their Water Means Life appeal. It’s important we come together to make sure these basic, vital, facilities reach healthcare facilities, saving the lives of both patients and healthcare workers.” 

Currently infections associated with unclean births account for 26% of newborn deaths and 11% of maternal mortality each year - together accounting for more than 1 million deaths annually. 

WaterAid's appeal aims to raise £2.5million between November 2022 and February 2023. Funds raised will bring water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities to healthcare centres in Mozambique and across the world.   

Nilza Domingos, a maternal and child health nurse in Mecanhelas, northern Mozambique, talks about the importance of getting water in her clinic; 

“Water is important for everybody, but it is vital for the Maternity ward. Delivery work requires water, hygiene, and cleanliness. We also use water to make tea for women in labour.” 
“Having water on site has improved the cleaning of the Maternity ward, and women’s hygiene a lot, as water is important for cleaning women after delivery. Pregnant women during the early part of labour and afterwards use the toilets and wash themselves. For the nurses, we also wash our hands prior and after delivery.” 
“To me water is life. Without water there is no life.” 

WaterAid’s appeal will enable the organisation to carry out similar life-saving work in Mozambique and globally. 

Find out more and donate at www.wateraid.org.  


For more information, please contact: Jemima Young, Senior Media Officer, [email protected] or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552  

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 @WaterAidPress, @WaterAidUK, @WaterAid, 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]. 
  • Almost 1.7 billion people in the world – more than one in five – do not have a decent toilet of their own[2]. 
  • Over 300,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That is more than 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes[3]. 
  • Investing in safely managed water, sanitation and hygiene services provides up to 21 times more value than it costs[4]. 

[1] WHO/UNICEF (2021) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene 2000-2020. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 

[2] WHO/UNICEF (2021) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene 2000-2020. Joint Monitoring Programme. Geneva: World Health Organisation. 

[3] WaterAid calculations based on: Prüss-Ustün A, et al. (2019). Burden of Disease from Inadequate Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Selected Adverse Health Outcomes: An Updated Analysis with a Focus on Low- and Middle-Income Countries. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. vol 222, no 5, pp 765-777. AND The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2020) Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Seattle, WA: University of Washington. 

[4] WaterAid. (2021) Mission-critical: Invest in water, sanitation, and hygiene for a healthy and green economic recovery.