Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

Period. 15 - 21 September 2020

During World Water Week in early September, the Lancet published a series of articles highlighting the impact of global gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) measures on both the COVID-19 pandemic as well as progress towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 6. While 1.8 billion people gained access to basic water and sanitation services since 2000, according to the WHO, as of 2017 about 2.2 billion still lack access to safe water, 3 billion lack basic handwashing facilities and 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation services.

In another article, authors showcase the range of WASH measures countries have adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. That include efforts by African governments, including increased access to handwashing stations in high-density locations (e.g. community centres, schools, bus terminals and shopping markets) and expanding access to clean water (e.g. drilling boreholes mobilizing water tankers). Significant challenges remain in humanitarian response locations as well as dense low-income urban settlements. The acceleration of clean cooking initiatives also remains critical, as 80% of the population in high-risk areas of Sub Saharan Africa rely on solid fuels (i.e. wood, coal, crop residues) gathered from high-density location, that moreover present respiratory health concerns.

This development is part of the digest;