Washington, DC (June 19, 2019) – Today, over 100 representatives from non-governmental organizations, academia, faith-based organizations, private institutions, media, and government joined Global Health Council (GHC) and Global Water 2020 at meeting in Washington, DC to make commitments to improve universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities.
During the gathering, organizations pledged financial resources, committed to contribute in-kind services and expertise in the form of advocacy, technical guidance, and project monitoring and evaluation, in addition to expanding their overall support of programs that prioritize improving WASH in healthcare facilities.
“The impact of WASH on all other global health sectors cannot be overlooked,” stated Loyce Pace, GHC President and Executive Director. “We cannot see improvements in maternal and child health, nutrition, and pandemic response or address antimicrobial resistance if WASH services, particularly in clinics and hospitals, remain inadequate. This gathering presents the global health and WASH communities with a historic call to action to ensure quality health care services by recognizing the importance of WASH in all facets of our work.”
In low- and middle-income countries 50 percent of healthcare facilities lack piped water, 33 percent lack access to improved sanitation, and 66 percent lack access to handwashing soap and running water, which puts both patients and healthcare workers at risk. Safe water, functioning toilets, and soap are necessary in healthcare facilities to prevent infections, protect mothers and children, conduct safe surgery, address antibiotic resistance, and mitigate disease outbreaks.
“Tens of thousands of hospitals and clinics are operating less as centers of healing than centers of infection. This gathering is the latest confirmation that safe, sustainable, WASH in healthcare facilities at long last occupies the spotlight of global health attention,” said David Douglas, Global Water 2020 Principal. “This unprecedented collection of commitments confirms that these organizations will never allow the issue of WASH in healthcare facilities to be ignored again.”
GHC made a commitment to advocate for policy and programs that lead to improvements in WASH in healthcare facilities. The strong commitments made by both public and private stakeholders today will help catalyze investments and policies that facilitate access to WASH services in healthcare facilities in the developing world.
About Global Health Council
Established in 1972, Global Health Council (GHC) is the leading membership organization supporting and connecting advocates, implementers, and stakeholders around global health priorities worldwide. GHC represents the collaborative voice of the community on key issues; we convene stakeholders around key priorities and actively engage with decision makers to influence global health policy. Learn more at www.globalhealth.org.
Liz Kohlway, Senior Manager, External Affairs
Global Health Council