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New WHO/UNICEF report on WASH in health care facilities

UNICEF/UN0281081/Vishwanathan

Half of health care facilities around the world lack basic hygiene services (access to soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub at both points of care and at toilets) and 9 per cent have no hygiene services at all, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene.
 
Health care facilities are essential for reducing disease. Yet without basic water, sanitation, hygiene, waste management and cleaning (WASH) services to prevent and control infections, these locations can instead contribute to more disease, prolonged hospital stays and preventable deaths.
 
It is estimated that 3.85 billion people lack a basic hygiene service at their health care facility, including 688 million who receive care at facilities with no hygiene services at all. Furthermore, 1.7 billion people lack a basic water service at their health care facility, including 857 million people with no water service at all.

Increasing access to hygiene facilities, and improving health care waste management and environmental cleaning are all crucial for preventing and controlling infection, as well as for providing quality care.
 

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