One in three healthcare facilities in Afghanistan has no water services, the United Nations said in a report released Monday.
The report, by WHO and UNICEF, showed that one in five healthcare facilities in Afghanistan does not have hand washing facility, one in four has no sanitation services.
According to the report, around 1.8 billion people around the world are at heightened risk of COVID-19 and other diseases because they use or work in health facilities without basic water services.
“Working in a health care facility without water, sanitation and hygiene is akin to sending nurses and doctors to work without personal protective equipment” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Water supply, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities are fundamental to stopping COVID-19. But there are still major gaps to overcome, particularly in least developed countries.”
Worldwide, 1 in 4 health care facilities has no water services, 1 in 3 does not have access to hand hygiene where care is provided, 1 in 10 has no sanitation services*, and 1 in 3 does not segregate waste safely.
“Sending healthcare workers and people in need of treatment to facilities without clean water, safe toilets, or even soap puts their lives at risk,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “This was certainly true before the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year has made these disparities impossible to ignore. As we reimagine and shape a post-COVID world, making sure we are sending children and mothers to places of care equipped with adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services is not merely something we can and should do. It is an absolute must.”
The situation is worst of all in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries, the report said suggesting it would cost roughly $1 per capita to enable them to establish basic water service in health facilities.