Let's Get WASHing

WASH is an acronym that stands for "water, sanitation and hygiene". Universal, affordable and sustainable access to WASH is a key public health issue. "Access to WASH" includes safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene education. Improving access to WASH services can improve health, life expectancy, student learning, gender equality, and other important issues of international development.

This can reduce illness and death, and also affect poverty reduction and socio-economic development. WASH services have to be provided to household locations but also to schools, healthcare facilities, work places, markets, prisons, train stations, public locations etc. In 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that "1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation facilities" while 663 million people still lack access to safe and clean drinking water. In 2017, this estimate changed to 2.3 billion people without sanitation facilities and 844 million people without access to safe and clean drinking water.

Lack of sanitation contributes to about 700,000 child deaths every year due to diarrhea, mainly in developing countries. Chronic diarrhea can have long-term negative effects on children, in terms of both physical and cognitive development addition, lack of WASH facilities at schools can prevent students from attending school, and reduce their educational achievements and later work productivity.

Awareness raising for the importance of WASH is regularly carried out by various organizations through their publications and activities on certain special days of the year (United Nations international observance days), namely: World Water Day for water (22 March), World Toilet Day for sanitation (19 November) and Global Handwashing Day for hygiene (15 October).

Posted on
December 3, 2021
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