WaterAid International

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Primary health care towards universal health coverage

Chair and honorable delegates,

The focus of the UHC High Level meeting is “moving together to build a healthier world.” Without clear action on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), this will simply not be possible.

As Richard Horton noted in the opening session, “more people die from poor quality health care than they do from not seeking health care.” New data from WHO and UNICEF shows that almost 900 million people seek care at health facilities with no water, 1.5 billion people seek care where no toilets are available, and almost half of facilities do not have hand hygiene stations at points of care.

How can quality care be delivered without these basic services?

The situation in households is also dire. 844 million people don’t have access to clean water close to home and 2.3 billion live without a decent toilet. If we want to leave no one behind and achieve equity in health service coverage and quality, WASH must be the foundation.

WaterAid calls on Member States, WHO and partners to:

• Strengthen coordination, cross-sectoral planning, implementation and monitoring between the health and WASH sectors;
• Recognize hygiene in the outcome document of the high-level meeting on UHC and ensure hygiene promotion is integrated as a component of primary health care; and,
• Allocate greater financing for and ownership of WASH to ensure a holistic approach to health both in communities and within health care facilities.

Thank you.