BBC News – Poor water and hygiene ‘kills mothers and newborns’

Poor water and hygiene ‘kills mothers and newborns’ | By Smitha Mundasad, Health reporter, BBC News, Dec 13, 2014.

Many mothers and newborns are dying because of a lack of sanitation, safe water and hygiene while giving birth, leading health experts have warned.

They say the lack of such basic facilities is hindering the success of other interventions to improve the health of newborn babies.

In some clinics in Tanzania pregnant women are asked to bring their own water supplies

In some clinics in Tanzania pregnant women are asked to bring their own water supplies

They’ve called on governments and agencies to focus more on the link between sanitation and saving lives.

Sanitation ‘ignored’

They say that while the importance of hygiene – for example, hand washing – is being recognised in some places, much less consideration is given to the complete package of safe water, hygiene and sanitation.

In some cases sanitation – toilets and facilities to dispose of waste – is being ignored.

Nearly 40% of health facilities in 54 low-income countries do not have reliable clean water, according to the World Health Organization.

The report suggests that many efforts to improve newborn health focus on specific measures, sometimes at the expense of these basic facilities.

And it argues that the lack of ways to dispose of waste safely could hamper the success of other interventions.

The experts behind the report say governments and agencies should pay much greater attention to the link between sanitation and saving mothers’ and babies’ lives.

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