GENEVA: One in four health care centers around the globe lacks basic water services, impacting over two billion people, according to a new joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.
The joint report is the first comprehensive global assessment of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities. The report reveals that one in 5 health care centers has no sanitation service, impacting 1.5 billion people.
The report, published on April 3, 2019, in Geneva, further discloses that many health centers lack basic facilities for hand hygiene and safe segregation and disposal of medical waste.
These basic services are vital to preventing infections, reducing the increase of antimicrobial resistance and providing quality health care, particularly for safe childbirth, the report said.
António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said, “Water, sanitation and hygiene services in health centers are the most basic requirements of infection prevention and control, and of quality health care.”
He added, “These services are fundamental to respecting the dignity and human rights of every human being who seeks health care and of health workers themselves.”
“I call on people everywhere to support action for WASH in all health care centers. This is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“Imagine giving birth to a child or taking your ill child to a health center with no safe water, toilets or hand washing facilities,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
“That’s the reality for millions of citizens every day. No one should have to do that, and no health worker should have to provide health care in those conditions,” he added.