‘Only half of all health centres have handwashing facilities – shocking, but not surprising’

on
30 August 2022
Handwashing at Worikambo Health Centre, Ghana, May 2022.
Image: WaterAid

The WHO released a report today, highlighting that only half of health care centres globally had a basic handwashing facilities in 2021. That is unacceptable and unjust, WaterAid said in a statement.

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid in the UK said;

“The report released today highlights that only half of health care centres globally had a basic handwashing facilities in 2021, which is unacceptable and unjust. Imagine doctors and nurses not being able to wash their hands before and after touching patients. Or new mothers not being able to clean themselves or their babies. Without clean water and sanitation people die needlessly, and it limits the possibility to curb disease outbreaks.”

“We have seen how interconnected the world is when it comes to the spread of infectious diseases. From COVID-19 to Monkey Pox, diseases and viruses have spread at high-speed, with no consideration for borders. With viruses and bacteria becoming increasingly drug-resistant, which leads to more than 1 million deaths every year, we must invest in healthcare globally.

“It is not only essential, but also an affordable thing to do. Providing clean water and toilets in every health facility in the 46 least developed countries in the world by 2030 would cost richer countries US $600 million a year - less than one dollar per person living in the G7 countries."

“Giving doctors and nurses clean water to wash their hands to prevent infections in clinics in the poorest nations is a no regrets investment to save lives and keep the whole world safer. We urge the G20 development ministers who are meeting next week to act now and stop the needless loss of life due to a lack of clean water and decent toilets.” 

ENDS

 

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 FacebookLinkedIn 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]
  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. World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage
  5. www.wateraid.org