Health care facilities
Urgent action is needed to improve water, sanitation and hygiene as well as health care waste management and environmental cleaning in health care facilities. The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme 2019 Global Baseline Report found that one in four health care facilities globally lacked basic water services, and one in eight had no sanitation service. In addition, many health care facilities lacked basic facilities for hand hygiene and safe segregation and disposal of health care waste.
Water, sanitation, hygiene, waste management and environmental cleaning (WASH) services in health care facilities are fundamental for the provision of quality, people-centered care. Such services also reduce health care associated infections, chemical hazards and risks to the community. They also increase trust and uptake of health services, increase efficiency and decrease cost of service delivery and improve staff morale. With huge gaps in current WASH services in health care facilities, WHO, in collaboration with UNICEF and partners around the world, is working to improve WASH in health care facilities, including the safe management of health care waste. This work aligns with, and contributes directly to, several Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 6 on safe management of water and sanitation and Goals 3.1, 3.2 and 3.8 reducing maternal mortality, ending preventable newborn deaths, and providing quality universal health coverage.
Further information about health care facilities and waste
- Essential environmental health standards in health care
- Safe management of wastes from health care activities
- Core questions and indicators for monitoring WASH in health care facilities in the Sustainable Development Goals
- Knowledge portal on WASH in health care facilities
Global and regional meeting reports
Achieving SDG 6 and safe water for all: A focus on water treatment and WASH in health care facilities. Meeting report (Accra, Ghana, 2018)
Strengthening the quality and sustainability of water, sanitation and hygiene services, including in health care facilities. WHO-DFAT project inception meeting (Bali, Indonesia, 2018)
Meeting the challenge: Responding to the global call to action on WASH in health care facilities (Geneva, 2018)
Global learning event - Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities: action-oriented solutions and learning (Kathmandu, 2017)
Global strategy, burden of disease and evidence and action priorities (London 2016)
WASH in health care facilities: Urgent needs and actions (Geneva, 2015)
Meeting the fundamental need for WASH in health care facilities (Madrid 2014)