Skip to main content

Drawing on data on from 54 low- and middle-income countries on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities, the report concludes that 38% lack access to even rudimentary levels of water, 19% lack sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing.

TitleWater, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities : status in low and middle income countries and way forward
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsCronk, R., Bartram, J.
Paginationx, 38 p. : 8 boxes, 2 fig, 8 tab.
PublisherWorld Health Organization (WHO) and Unicef
Place PublishedGeneva, Switzerland
Publication LanguageEnglish
ISBN Number978 92 4 150847 6
Keywordshealth care, hospitals, waste management

This report presents for the first time a multi-country review of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities in 54 low- and middle-income countries. WASH services provide for water availability and quality, presence of sanitation facilities and availability of soap and water for handwashing. The main focus of the results is on water availability as there were very limited data on water quality, sanitation and hygiene. In addition, a brief summary of data on the safe disposal of health care waste is provided,

The report is organized in two main sections. The first focuses on the method employed to obtain the estimates on WASH in health care facilities and the derived estimates. It also summarises the status of national policies and targets on WASH in health care facilities. The second section highlights the way forward and particular elements important in improving WASH in health care facilities.

The 10 key findings of the report are:

  1. Improving the safety and quality of health care globally requires water, sanitation services (WASH) in all health care facilities
  2. In low resource settings, WASH services in many healthcare facilities are absent: 38% of health care facilities do not have an improved water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing
  3. Estimates of water coverage in health care facilities decrease when reliability and safety of supplies is taken into account
  4. Large disparities in WASH services in health care facilities exist between and within countries
  5. Primary healthcare facilities have significantly lower WASH coverage than hospitals
  6. National plans for WASH in health care facilities are lacking
  7. Improving services and WASH behaviours in health care facilities is achievable, and has positive ripple effects both for increased use of these facilities and on WASH practices in homes
  8. Very little data is available, especially for sanitation and hygiene
  9. International recognition of the need for global monitoring of WASH in health care facilities against an agreed global target may spur the establishment or revision of national target
  10. Urgent action is needed to address this situation

Includes 7 annxes and 25 ref.




The copyright of the documents on this site remains with the original publishers. The documents may therefore not be redistributed commercially without the permission of the original publishers.

Back to
the top