The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), through the WHO/ UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP), have produced regular updates on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) since 1990. The JMP tracked progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is now responsible for monitoring global progress towards the WASH-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) place a new emphasis on universal health coverage, including access to WASH services. They also reflect a shift in thinking that recognizes the importance of quality care and an integrated, people-centered approach that enhances the experience of care.
WASH is a prerequisite for quality care, and is particularly important for the safe management of childbirth. It is fundamental to the achievement of UNICEF’s Every Child Alive Campaign and the “triple billion” targets of WHO’s 13th General Programme of Work. With a renewed focus on safe and quality primary health care through the Astana Declaration, the opportunity to ensure the basics are in place, including WASH services, has never been greater. In March 2018, the United Nations Secretary-General issued a global call for greater leadership and accountability to provide WASH services in all health care facilities, emphasizing the high cost of inaction.
This report presents the first global assessment of water, sanitation, hygiene, health care waste management and environmental cleaning (WASH) services in health care facilities and establishes baseline estimates for monitoring progress during the SDG period. It is complemented by another WHO and UNICEF report that outlines practical actions countries can take to improve WASH in health care facilities.