SUPPORT-SYSTEMS (83) WHO/UNICEF: Half of health care facilities globally lack basic hygiene services – WHO, UNICEF

30 August, 2022

Extracts below from a WHO/UNICEF press release, and a comment from me. Full text here with link to report:


Half of health care facilities globally lack basic hygiene services – WHO, UNICEF

Newly established global estimate on hygiene reveals the risk of disease spread and infections to patients and health care providers

30 August 2022 Joint News Release Geneva, New York Reading time: 3 min (900 words)

Half of health care facilities worldwide lack basic hygiene services with water and soap or alcohol-based hand rub where patients receive care and at toilets in these facilities, according to the latest Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report by WHO and UNICEF. Around 3.85 billion people use these facilities, putting them at greater risk of infection, including 688 million people who receive care at facilities with no hygiene services at all...

“If health care providers don’t have access to a hygiene service, patients don’t have a health care facility,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, UNICEF Director of WASH and Climate, Environment, Energy, and Disaster Risk Reduction (CEED). “Hospitals and clinics without safe water and basic hygiene and sanitation services are a potential death trap for pregnant mothers, newborns, and children. Every year, around 670 000 newborns lose their lives to sepsis. This is a travesty – even more so as their deaths are preventable.”...

Facilities in sub-Saharan Africa are lagging on hygiene services. While three-quarters (73%) of health care facilities in the region overall have alcohol-based hand rub or water and soap at points of care, only one-third (37%) have handwashing facilities with water and soap at toilets...


COMMENT (NPW): The report notes: 'A global analysis estimated that universal basic WASH services in health care facilities could be achieved in 46 least developed countries (LDCs) by 2030 for less than US$10 billion, which represents additional expenditures of less than US$1 per person per year.'

So why are policymakers not investing more in basic hygiene services?? In relation to the current HIFA project on SUPPORT-SYSTEMS, this would seem to be a no-brainer? Is civil society doing enough to put pressure on governments to take action, or is this a neglected area?

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, Global Coordinator HIFA,

Global Healthcare Information Network: Working in official relations with WHO

Joint Coordinator, SUPPORT-SYSTEMS