Global Health Council, Inc.

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Meeting: 
Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities
Statement: 

Global Health Council supported by Partners in Health and Global Water 2020 are encouraged by the action being taken on water, sanitation and hygiene or WASH in health care facilities. WASH is foundational to the provision of quality care and underpins universal health coverage. Together, WASH and infection prevention and control reduce the incidence of healthcare-acquired infections and the spread of antimicrobial resistance – both major concerns for patient safety. Ensuring facilities are prepared to handle outbreaks such as Ebola and cholera and are resilient to the challenges brought on by climate change will also require adequate WASH.

We appreciate the steps taken by WHO and UNICEF since the launch of the 2015 Status Report and we applaud the response to the UN Secretary General’s Call to Action for WASH in healthcare facilities. Now further action is needed at the country level. To ensure functional WASH services are available in every hospital and health center around the world, it must first be prioritized and embedded within the health system, with support from the WASH community. We encourage Member States to gather together stakeholders from the health and WASH sectors to develop a national action plan. We hope that Member States will further commit to the issue by conducting assessments, establishing standards, upgrading facilities, integrating WASH into monitoring systems and allocating specified funding for WASH activities in healthcare facilities.

We thank WHO and Member States for your increased commitment to WASH in healthcare facilities.