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Afghanistan; 1 in 3 Health care Facilities has No Water Services – WHO, UNICEF

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF say in a joint press release that lack of water puts health care workers and patients at higher risk of COVID-19 infection.
The WHO and UNICEF warned on Sunday that around 1.8 billion people are at heightened risk of COVID-19 and other diseases because they use or work in health care facilities without basic water services.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are vital to the safety of health workers and patients yet provision of these services is not prioritized worldwide, according to the WHO and UNICEF.

In Afghanistan’s context, the Health Management Information System (HMIS) data reveals that 1 in 3 health care facilities has no water services, 1 in 5 does not have hand washing facility but the hand hygiene practice is as low as 24 percent and 1 in 4 has no sanitation services.
“Lack of water puts health care workers and patients at higher risk of COVID-19 infection,” the press release stressed.

“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.”

The two organizations provide four main recommendations: implement costed national roadmaps with appropriate financing; monitor and regularly review progress in improving WASH services, practices and the enabling environment; develop capacities of health workforce to sustain WASH services and promote and practice good hygiene; integrate WASH into regular health sector planning, budgeting, and programming, including COVID-19 response and recovery efforts to deliver quality services.

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