Author Archives: usaidwaterckm

For COVID-19, Focus on the Basics: WASH in Healthcare Facilities

For COVID-19, Focus on the Basics: WASH in Healthcare Facilities, by Thomas Boynton and John Oldfield, Global Water 2020. Sanitation and Water for All, April 2020.

When it comes to stopping a pandemic – be it COVID-19 or infectious Disease X sometime in the future – we are only as strong as the weakest link. And there is a clear weak link that few recognize and appreciate: the lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities across the developing world.

Pandemics specialize in beating efforts to control them, especially at critical sites. Perhaps no place is more critical than any given healthcare facility where there is the greatest density of pathogens and the greatest volume of sick people.

The unappreciated reality is that at a time when we are bombarded with the message to “wash your hands,” healthcare workers and patients in healthcare facilities often cannot perform that simple act. WASH is the foundation of healthcare.

However, one in four healthcare facilities lacks basic water, one in five lacks sanitation, and two in five lack hand hygiene materials at points of care. That leaves a massive “catchment area” of two billion people who must rely on these inadequate facilities for their healthcare. This situation is always deeply troubling and especially problematic during a pandemic. 

Read the complete article.

Brief: Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and menstrual health and hygiene – UNICEF

Brief: Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and menstrual health and hygiene. UNICEF, April 2020.

A summary of essential considerations to ensure continuation of MHH during the pandemic:

  1. Ensure MHH supplies and WASH facilities are in place for healthcare workers and patients.
  2. Mitigate the impact of lack of access to menstrual materials and WASH facilities by providing menstrual materials in NFI and food assistance for girls and women with limited movement or in camps or institutions.
  3. Provide basic WASH facilities and services in communities, camps, and institutional settings.

WASH & COVID-19 updates, April 2020

April 27, 2020 – WASH & COVID-19 Weekly Update

April 20, 2020 – WASH & COVID-19 Weekly Update

April 13, 2020 – WASH & COVID-19 Weekly Update

April 9, 2020 – WASH & COVID-19 UPDATES Weekly Update

April 3, 2020 – WASH & COVID-19 Weekly Update

WASH & COVID-19 Update, April 20, 2020


Did you get the message? My favorite behavior change studies can inform the COVID-19 response by Julia Rosenbaum. R&E Search for Evidence, April 2020.

Ten Immediate WASH Actions in Healthcare Facilities for COVID-19 Response. Compiled by Lindsay Denny, Global Water 2020, April 2020.

Understanding hygiene promotion in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. UNICEF guidance note, April 2020.

Hand Hygiene – Could COVID-19 Permanently Change Hand Hygiene? By: Gideon Lasco, GHP Blog, April 2020.

Hygiene behaviour during outbreaks. COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, April 2020.

Identifying & Mitigating Gender-based Violence Risks within the COVID-19 Response. Global WASH Cluster, April 2020.  

Cleaning and hygiene tips to help keep the COVID-19 virus out of your home. UNICEF, April 2020.

Three lessons for the COVID-19 response from pandemic HIV. The Lancet, April 2020.

COVID-19 Prevention When There’s No Soap and Water. JHCCP, April 2020.

Zimbabwe: Unsafe Water Raises COVID-19 Risks. Human Rights Watch, April 2020.

International task force to examine wastewater for community infection of novel coronavirus. SMW, April 2020.

Ten Immediate WASH Actions in Healthcare Facilities for COVID-19 Response

Ten Immediate WASH Actions in Healthcare Facilities for COVID-19 Response. Compiled by Lindsay Denny, Global Water 2020, April 2020.

This page describes ten immediate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) actions that low-resource healthcare facilities can undertake with limited budget in the near-term (0-3 months) to prepare for and address COVID-19.

On the second page, WHO and UNICEF have provided input on how to best adapt their Eight Practical Steps in the midst of COVID-19.

Finally, we have compiled resources for action. While some activities may be temporary stopgaps, the goal is to provide incremental improvements that can be sustained and built upon after the outbreak subsides.

In particular, the proper management of WASH will be critical to protect healthcare workers and prevent infections. WHO has stated that WASH guidelines for COVID-19 are the same as for preventing other infections.

The immediacy of the outbreak will require healthcare facilities, Ministries of Health, and partners to prioritize activities, with a focus on infection prevention and control and preparing for an influx of patients, causing greater demand on WASH services.

Sustainable WASH Systems – Water Currents, April 15, 2020

Sustainable WASH Systems – Water Currents, April 15, 2020

This issue of Water Currents focuses on the work of the many local governments, communities, and sector partners, as well as investments by USAID in programs like the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS) that are exploring new approaches to strengthening local systems to achieve greater service sustainability.

In addition to SWS, we would also like to thank Agenda for ChangeMillennium Water Alliance, and the Institute for Sustainable Futures for contributing to this issue.

Learning Documents
Strengthening Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Systems: Concepts, Examples, and ExperiencesAgenda for Change, February 2020. This paper describes the concepts, frameworks, and tools that Agenda for Change members use for analyzing systems; provides practical examples of systems strengthening efforts; and outlines the journeys that members have gone through in progressively embracing systems strengthening approaches.

System Approaches to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: A Systematic Literature ReviewInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, January 2020. Based on this review, the authors propose four recommendations for improving the evidence base on evaluating interconnections among factors within WASH systems.

Sustaining Rural Water: A Comparative Study of Maintenance Models for Community-Managed SchemesSWS, July 2019. This study considers different variations of maintenance approaches. It provides a typology for characterizing maintenance service provision models, a framework for analyzing them, and an in-depth study of seven maintenance models that represent different cases from the typology of approaches.

Application of the District-Wide Approach in 5 Pilot Districts of Rwanda: Lessons LearnedAgenda for Change, February 2020. The district-wide approach is a relevant and effective approach for articulating WASH plans and to get buy-in from various stakeholders for attaining universal access and the stakeholders’ roles therein. As both a process and an output to investment planning, the district-wide approach has been effective.

Understanding Rural Water Services as a Complex System: An Assessment of Key Factors as Potential Leverage Points for Improved Service SustainabilitySustainability, February 2020. Researchers conducted four participatory factor mapping workshops with local stakeholders across multiple rural water contexts to identify the factors and interactions that support service sustainability.

Read the complete issue.

WASH & COVID-19 updates – April 13, 2020


Water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) and waste management for the prevention of COVID-19 Updated Technical Note-2nd edition 6 April 2020. WHO; UNICEF.

New resource: messages on the COVID-19 and WASH link. Sanitation and Water for All, April 6.

Corona Comic – No Chance for Corona: How Kids Can Help Beat the Virus. Welthungerhilfe, April 2020.

USAID Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Latest News

Responding to COVID-19 – The Global Handwashing Partnership, April 7.

Handwashing is first line of defense in preventing Coronavirus, but millions do not have access to soap and water. WaterAid, April 10.

How do you stop COVID-19 without clean water? National Geographic, April 8.

Handwashing helps stop COVID-19. But in India, water is scarce. National Geographic, April 7.

One Way to Potentially Track Covid-19? Sewage Surveillance. Wired, April 7.