April 9, 2021

What’s WASH got to do with it? The power of ill-health prevention through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

April 9, 2021

What’s WASH got to do with it? The power of ill-health prevention through Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

It is time to build a fairer, healthier world. It is time to build back better

If the global COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that our basic human rights and access to decent health and care is far from being a lived reality for millions of people around the world.

Timely, optimal and affordable healthcare which is facilitated to an appropriate quality and standard, is often a dream for the 1.8 billion men, women and children who face appalling conditions inside hospitals and local health clinics. The problems they often face? A lack of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) among others. Today, 50% of healthcare facilities in Least Developed Countries lack even basic water services – a resource and a solution in tandem, that if provided, would both cure and prevent a number of complications, illnesses and deaths.

We cannot actualise health equity if we do not consider and prioritise the role and place of adequate WASH across any and all facilities.

In 2019, my Wellbeing Foundation Africa committed to training 500 healthcare workers and educating 35,000 pregnant and nursing mothers across Nigeria on hand and personal hygiene practices by 2020. We also committed to advocating for improved WASH structures in healthcare facilities in 2019 and 2020 to enable healthcare workers in Nigeria to perform their duties effectively – a timely initiative which I firmly believe ingrained the practice’s importance in the hearts of Nigeria’s women and families just in time for the pandemic.

We are proud to be part of the 100 global commitments to WASH in Healthcare Facilities made over the last 3 years, driving a rally cry to transform this  “neglected crisis” within global health into a global health movement with Global Water 2020 and Global Health Council.

In the words of Dr. Maria Neira, Director of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization, “a healthcare facility without WASH is not a healthcare facility.” 

I join UN Secretary General Guterres, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros, UNICEF Executive Director Fore, heads of state and First Ladies, Ministers of Health, Vatican officials, the Dalai Lama and so many more in a global call for funding, technical assistance, research, training, maintenance and advocacy.

 WASH is an essential service and progress to get it into healthcare facilities will be among the most critical global health advances we can make in our journey to equal health for all.

Crowning the 2021 World Health Care Worker Week by lending my solidarity and by commending, honouring and celebrating our global frontline, who championed the importance of WASH through aseptic techniques when facilitating care, by committing to WASH long before the global pandemic, thoroughly during the height of the waves, and hopefully so, going forward.

Thank you.

#WorldHealthDay # WASHinHCF #WASHWednesday


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