More than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water worldwide and 2 billion do not have access to even basic sanitation facilities. Half the hospital beds in developing countries are occupied by people with WASH related diseases such as diarrhoea, pneumonia, eye and skin infections, malaria, cholera, typhoid, adding an extra burden to limited health care delivery services. Globally, one in five child deaths is due to diarrhoea.
Sanitation and hygiene interventions are lagging far behind those of almost all other development sectors including water. At the current rate, the Millennium Development Goal on sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa will not be met until 2175, 160 years late. Yet World Health Organisation research shows that interventions for Sanitation are incredibly effective- a staggering 16% of total lives saved for children under five can be attributed to handwashing interventions.
The lack of clean water and sanitation in the aftermath of disasters or conflict often means survivours cannot keep up good hygiene practices. This in turn increases their vulnerability to illness including malnutrition and can lead to outbreaks of disease.
Our water and sanitation experts help communities to stay healthy by developing appropriate and sustainable solutions. We prioritise hygiene promotion in all of our WASH projects so that communities have the knowledge they need to better protect themselves from the threat of water related diseases.
We also focus on making sure health facilities have the water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure necessary to protect patients from infection. We construct latrines, put in place waste management systems and provide water sources appropriate to the specific needs of health facilities and communities alike.