The issue explained

One of the most obvious benefits of clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene is that people are healthier. If the pandemic taught us anything, it's that handwashing is a simple, cost-effective way to prevent the spread of diseases. 

The other side of the coin is that without these essentials, diseases such as diarrhea and acute respiratory infections spread. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. Mothers too - pregnant women need to have access to clean water, toilets and be in a hygienic environment to have the best chances of a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.

Furthermore, people who are already sick, particularly those suffering from long-term debilitating illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, have greater water and sanitation needs than healthy people.

Learn about our approach

Pictured here is Nurse Peu Aranhya, 30, washing his hands with clean water at a sink at the Thmor Kol Referral Hospital in Battambang, Cambodia.

Our approach

We aim to have an integrated approach: improved health and improved water, toilets and hygiene have to go hand in hand. There’s little point giving a child protection against malaria if they are still drinking dirty water.

While we don’t work directly in the health sector, for example by funding health care facilities or doctors, we are working increasingly closely with health professionals and hygiene educators, because the links between health and hygiene are so strong.

In our influencing work, we are working hard to ensure that greater funding and action within the health sector is targeted at clean water, toilets and hygiene.

We plan to do even more work in this area going forward, so that clean water, toilets and hygiene are helping to stop the spread of disease in communities and are integrated into health care facilities to ensure everyone can enjoy high-quality health services.

Our work in the health sector 

See our report Transforming health systems: the vital role of water, sanitation and hygiene.

Thanks to you the patients at Kimboi Hospital in Tanzania can now count on access to clean water and decent toilets.

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See how advocating for WaterAid can help get water to health centers and beyond in other parts of the world!

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