Water sanitation hygiene

Health care facilities

Health centre in Indonesia
WHO/SEARO/Nursila Dewi

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

Global and regional meeting reports