Half of global health care facilities lack basic hygiene services
Half of healthcare facilities worldwide lack basic hygiene services, without water and soap or alcohol-based hand rub where patients receive care and in toilet facilities, according to the latest Joint Monitoring Programme report by WHO and UNICEF.
Around 3.85 billion people use these facilities, putting them at greater risk of infection, including 688 million people who receive care at facilities with no hygiene services at all.
“Hygiene facilities and practices in health care settings are non-negotiable. Their improvement is essential to pandemic recovery, prevention, and preparedness. Hygiene in health care facilities cannot be secured without increasing investments in basic measures, which include safe water, clean toilets, and safely managed healthcare waste,” aid Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health. “I encourage Member States to step up their efforts to implement their 2019 World Health Assembly commitment to strengthen water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities, and to monitor these efforts.”
“If health care providers don’t have access to a hygiene service, patients don’t have a healthcare facility,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF Director of WASH and Climate, Environment, Energy, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CEE). “Hospitals and clinics without safe water and basic hygiene and sanitation services are a potential death trap for pregnant mothers, newborns, and children. Every year, around 670,000 newborns lose their lives to sepsis. This is a travesty – even more so as their deaths are preventable.”
The report details that contaminated hands and environments play a significant role in pathogen transmission in healthcare facilities and in the spread of antimicrobial resistance.