Tag Archives: World Health Organization

Health workers must have #safeHANDS – WHO annual call to action

WHO #safeHANDS poster

This year’s annual day to recognize hand hygiene among health workers commemorates ten years of the Clean Care is Safer Care programme (2005-2015) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Hand hygiene is an important element of infection prevention and control. A recent WHO/UNICEF survey of  66,000 health facilities in developing countries revealed that over a third of them lacked soap for hand washing.

To join the campaign and learn more visit: http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/en/

Webinar: Healing Hands, 5 May 2015, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM CEST

Hear from experts from WHO, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Johns Hopkins University on the importance of hand hygiene, the current state of practices and lessons learned from the recent West Africa Ebola Outbreak.

To join the discussion register at the site of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing.

Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities

A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO and Unicef provides an “alarming picture of the state of WASH in health care facilities”.

Drawing on limited data from 54 low- and middle-income countries the report concludes that 38% of the facilities lack access to even rudimentary levels of water, 19% lack sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing.

In addition, “training and capacity building to ensure there are sufficient resources and personnel to operate and maintain WASH facilities and enable health care staff to deliver hygiene behaviour change messages is urgently needed”, the report says.

“While the situation appears bleak, there are a number of global initiatives for which WASH in health care facilities is a foundational element and examples of national governments taking the initiative to improve standards, implementation and monitoring”, the report concludes. Through coordinated, global action, with leadership from the health sector, WHO and Unicef believe that all health care facilities can have adequate WASH services.

Besides the full report, you can also download:

Cronk, R. & Bartram, J., 2015. Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities : status in low and middle income countries and way forward, Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef. x, 38 p. : 8 boxes, 2 fig, 8 tab. Avaialable at:
www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/wash-health-care-facilities/en/

Campaigning for better WASH in health care facilities

WHO is launching a global plan of action to improve access to WASH at all health care facilities. This kind of intersectoral collaboration is set to become a major theme in the post-2015 development agenda.

Maternity ward, Gazipur, Bangladesh

Maternity ward, Gazipur, Bangladesh. © DFATD-MAECD/Wendell Phillips. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dfait-maeci/10057359875

Better access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in health care facilities is crucial for mothers and babies to stay healthy. It is just as important as curative measures says Dr Maria Neira, the Director of Public Health and Environment at the World Health Organization (WHO) [1]. She announced that WHO will launch a global plan of action by March 2015 on improving access to WASH at all health care facilities [2].

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Save Lives: Clean Your Hands – 5 May 2013

Save lives: Clean Your Hands. Photo: WHO

Photo: WHO

This annual global campaign on 5 May supports the World Health Organization’s (WHO) effort to improve hand hygiene in health care and thus prevent often life threatening healthcare-associated infections (HAI).

It was launched in 2009 as a follow-up to WHO’s First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care work.

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WASH by numbers: the latest on cost benchmarks, economic returns and handwashing

One of the most quoted WASH statistics was recently “downgraded”. For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, not $8 but “only” $4 is returned in economic returns through increased productivity. This recalculation [1], says the World Health Organization, is mainly a result of higher investment cost estimates and the more complete inclusion of operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.

Providing a better insight into O&M costs has been one of the achievements of the WASHCost project of the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. WASHCost has published minimum benchmarks for costing sustainable basic WASH services in developing countries [2]. The project collected data from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Andhra Pradesh (India) and Mozambique.

The main message is that spending less than the minimum benchmarks will result in a higher risk of reduced service levels or long-term failure. NGOs claiming that “US$20 can provide clean water for one person for 20 years” have clearly forgotten to include annual recurrent costs for operation and maintenance, capital maintenance and direct support.

The real cost for 20 years of basic water supply from a borehole and handpump would be, per person,  between US$ 20 and US$ 61 for construction plus US$ 3-6 every year to keep it working. In total for the 20 years this would amount to  US$ 80 to US$ 181 per person.

Similarly, for the most basic sanitation service, a traditional pit latrine, the combined costs would be US$ 37 – 106 per person over 20 years.

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Al Jazeera’s Inside Story discusses new WHO/UNICEF report on water and sanitation MDGs


The UN announced that the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to cut the number of people who do not have access to safe drinking water by half, has been met five years before the 2015 deadline. In contrast, the sanitation MDG target will not be met.

The report issued by UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources such as piped supplies and protected wells.

Does this really show an early success for the MDG? How reliable is the UN report on safe drinking water?

Joining presenter Adrian Finighan on Inside Story are guests: Patrick Moriarty, in charge of the International Programme for the IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, a Netherlands-based NGO; Joakim Harlin, a senior water resources advisor at the UNDP; and Muhammad Jahangir, the founder of Better Tomorrow, an NGO focusing on water sanitation.

More information:

64th World Health Assembly approves three WASH resolutions

The 64th World Health Assembly (WHA) has adopted a resolution on drinking-water, sanitation and health, and two other related resolutions on cholera and Guinea worm (dracunculiasis).

Yael Velleman at the WHA in Geneva with a copy of the WaterAid report "The sanitation problem - What can and should the health sector do". Photo: WaterAid

WaterAid had issued a call to leaders participating in the WHA in Geneva to prioritise sanitation and water in the fight against diseases including cholera and dracunculiasis. In support of their campaign, WaterAid published a new report
The sanitation problem: What can and should the health sector do?. WaterAid’s Senior Health Policy Analyst Yael Velleman wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian and posted daily updates from the WHA.

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