Honourable Chair and Delegates, WaterAid welcomes the report by the Director-General on the UN high-level meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
Infection prevention measures such as sanitation, hand washing and water safety can decrease the spread of microorganisms resistant to antimicrobial medicines. But effective IPC and curbing AMR cannot be achieved without adequate water, sanitation and hygiene in all healthcare facilities.
The 2015 WHO/UNICEF report on the status of WASH in healthcare facilities revealed 38% of healthcare facilities do not have a water supply, 19% do not have adequate sanitation and 35% do not have hand hygiene infrastructure. This compromises the ability of health workers to deliver safe, quality, dignified care and to effectively tackle AMR.
We recognise efforts made under objective 3 of the global action plan - to reduce the incidence of infection through effective sanitation, hygiene and infection prevention measures. We note WHO’s leadership on tackling AMR through technical support on strengthening environmental components within national AMR action plans, strengthening the availability of WASH services in health care facilities, wastewater treatment, health care waste management and surveillance. We welcome the recognition of the links between WASH and antimicrobial resistance in the new WHO WASH Strategy 2018–2025.
We call on Member States and WHO to:
• Support and co-sponsor the proposed resolution on WASH in healthcare facilities at WHA 72
• Ensure WASH components of IPC are prioritised within National Action Plans on AMR
• Allocate adequate domestic and external financing to deliver on national plans for WASH in Healthcare Facilities.
WaterAid will continue its work in 16 countries to support nationally-led action to improve WASH in healthcare facilities. Achieving WASH in every hospital and clinic is a winnable battle - one that should be prioritised in efforts to curb AMR and to achieve UHC.