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April 8, 2021

Clean water, soap demanded for all healthcare facilities

Islamabad

April 8, 2021

Islamabad : On this World Health Day, WaterAid has demanded provision of clean water and soap to all healthcare facilities on emergency basis as 1.8 billion people are at higher risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases globally because they use or work in a healthcare facility that lacks basic water services.

“It is a matter of urgency to make sure all healthcare facilities in the developing countries have clean water and soap while fighting this pandemic. If frontline 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,” said Country Director WaterAid Pakistan Siddiq Khan in his statement issued on World Health Day.

Globally,1.8 billion people are at higher risk of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases because they use or work in a healthcare facility that lacks 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 disease. And yet, one in four healthcare facilities in the world has no clean water on-site, one in three has no handwashing facilities at the point of care and one in ten has no decent toilets. In developing countries, the situation is even worse – half of all hospitals and clinics there has no clean water.

According to the World Health Organization, investment of this nature would take just one year to pay for itself and produce savings for every penny invested thereafter. But an ever-growing debt crisis is preventing poorer countries from being able to invest in basic water services, with some countries paying billions of dollars in international debt service each year. Pakistan paid a huge $11 billion in debt service in 2019– an amount that could pay for access to taps, toilets, and handwashing facilities in hospitals across all of the least developed countries three times over.