Clean water, soap access urgent in healthcare facilities fighting pandemic in developing countries

ISLAMABAD: WaterAid Pakistan Country Director Siddiq Khan on Tuesday said it was a matter of urgency to make sure that all healthcare facilities in the developing countries had clean water and soap while fighting this pandemic.

Marking World Health Day, he, in a statement, said, “If front-line health workers can’t wash their hands; keep patients clean; or have somewhere decent to go to the toilet, such facility might act as a breeding ground for diseases.”

He said globally 1.8 billion people were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and other infectious diseases as they used or worked in a healthcare facility which lacked basic water services.

“Providing doctors, nurses and patients with somewhere to clean their hands is one of the most effective ways to halt the spread of the contagious disease, ” he added.

Quoting the worldwide statistics on WASH or water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, Siddiq Khan said one in four healthcare facilities had no clean water on site, one in three had no hand-washing facilities at the point of care and one in ten had no decent toilets.

In the developing countries, the situation was even worse – half of all hospitals and clinics there had no clean water, he added.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), investment of this nature would take just one year to pay for itself and produce savings for every penny invested thereafter.

WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 27 million people with clean water and 27 million people with decent toilets.