In celebration of World Health Day on April 7—the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual campaign day highlighting priority health concerns—this issue of Water Currents focuses on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities (HCF), a topic that is gaining wider interest and support.
This year’s theme is universal health coverage, which means that all people and communities have access to quality health services where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
To deliver quality health care, institutions require safe water and sanitation services, handwashing facilities, and a process for safely managing and disposing of health care waste.
A brief from USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Program notes that one of the major challenges to providing WASH in HCF is that WASH, as a sector, rarely has an institutional home.
Instead, its governance gets bundled under “water and sanitation” or “water resources,” which in turn are divided among multiple ministries, government bodies, and interests, e.g., urban planning, public works, energy, forestry, etc.
Global Water 2020 contributed to this issue, which features studies, webinars, country assessments, toolkits and training materials, reports, and other resources published from 2017 to 2019.
Two key WHO publications published in 2008 and 2015, respectively, are particularly noteworthy: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Health Care Facilities: Status in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and the Way Forward and Essential Environmental Health Standards in Health Care.
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