Despite the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of epidemics, millions in African countries like Nigeria, including hundreds of thousands of school-going children, do not have access to handwashing facilities with soap. People living in rural areas, urban slums, disaster-prone areas, and low-income countries are the most vulnerable and the most affected.
Without improved access to safe Water, Hygiene and Sanitation(WASH) curbing water-borne diseases, malnutrition and stunting would be extremely hard.
Access to water and hygiene is a human right.
Poor sanitation is linked to the transmission of diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera and dysentery, as well as typhoid, intestinal worm infections, and polio. It exacerbates stunting and contributes to the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
A well-managed water cycle underpins progress across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly in relation to hunger, gender equity, health, education, livelihoods, sustainability, and ecosystems.
Similarly, research has shown that improved access to safe water and hygiene have a strong multi-level impact on the health indices of any country. Further, the overall healthcare indicators could potentially be adversely affected on a number of levels by by improved access to WASH. The health indicators include, diarrhea, nutrition, complementary food hygiene, female psychosocial stress, and violence, maternal and newborn health. Others are menstrual hygiene management, school attendance, and oral vaccine performance, waterborne and neglected tropical diseases.
World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises access to Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services as an essential precautionary measure for protecting human health from the onslaught of emerging diseases, epidemics, and pandemics like COVID-19.