- UNICEF urges governments to commit to providing hand hygiene
- UNICEF calls to investment in public health and economic resilience
- The latest data show that some progress has been made since 2015
New York: Globally, around three in 10 people, or 2.3 billion, do not have handwashing facilities with water and soap available at home, said the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Friday (October 15). The situation is worst in the least developed countries, with over six in 10 people without access to basic hand hygiene, said UNICEF in a fact sheet on Global Handwashing Day, which falls on Oct. 15. According to the latest estimates, two in five schools worldwide do not have basic hygiene services with water and soap, affecting 818 million students, of which 462 million attend schools with no facility at all.
In the least developed countries, seven out of 10 schools have no place for children to wash their hands. One-third of health care facilities worldwide do not have hand hygiene facilities at points of care where the patient, health care worker, and treatment involve contact with the patient.
The latest data show that some progress has been made since 2015. The global population with access to basic hand hygiene at home has increased from 5 billion to 5.5 billion, or from 67 percent to 71 percent. However, if current trends persist, 1.9 billion people will still not have access to basic hand hygiene by the end of the decade.
The cost to provide hand hygiene in all homes in 46 of the world’s least developed countries by 2030 is an estimated 11 billion U.S. dollars. UNICEF urges governments to commit to providing hand hygiene, not as a temporary response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as an investment in public health and economic resilience.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.