Saturday August 24, 2019

Two Billion People Lack Access to Clean Water and Good Hygiene: UN

"A health care facility without water is not really a health care facility," said UNICEF statistician Tom Slaymaker

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health facilities, water facilities
FILE - Refugees in Rwanda wait in lines for food, water, soap and other necessities that are in short supply. VOA

A quarter of the world’s health facilities lack basic water services, impacting 2 billion people, the United Nations said on Wednesday, warning that unhygienic conditions could fuel the global rise of deadly superbugs.

In the poorest countries, about half of facilities do not have basic water services — meaning water delivered by pipes or boreholes that protect it from feces — putting birthing mothers and newborns in particular danger, new data showed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said more than 1 million deaths a year were associated with unclean births, and 15 percent of all patients attending a health facility developed infections.

“Hospitals are not necessarily points of care where you can heal, but points of almost infection. (We) are very alarmed by this,” WHO public health coordinator Bruce Gordon told a media briefing in Geneva.

health facilities, water facilities
The agencies said good water and sanitation services were crucial to reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance, one of the greatest global health threats. Wikimedia

Worldwide, nearly 900 million people have no water at all at their local health facility or have to use unprotected wells or springs. One in five facilities also lack toilets, impacting about 1.5 billion people, the agencies said.

One of the development goals agreed by world leaders in 2015 was for all to have access to safe water and sanitation by 2030.

“A health care facility without water is not really a health care facility,” said UNICEF statistician Tom Slaymaker.

“Sick people shed a lot more pathogens in their feces, and without toilets, staff, patients — this includes mothers and babies — are at a much greater risk of diseases caused and spread through human waste.”

The agencies said good water and sanitation services were crucial to reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance, one of the greatest global health threats.

 

water facilities, health facilities
Water delivered by pipes or boreholes that protect it from feces — putting birthing mothers and newborns in particular danger, new data showed. Wikimedia

International charity WaterAid said rising rates of superbugs had been linked to poor sanitary conditions in health facilities which lead to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.

Helen Hamilton, WaterAid policy analyst, said the data revealed the “often-deplorable conditions” in which health workers were trying to help patients.

“The battle to save lives, and to slow the rise of deadly superbugs which threaten us all, cannot be won as long as these dedicated frontline staff are denied … the fundamentals of health care,” she said.

She urged governments to prioritize the issue when they meet at next month’s World Health Assembly in Geneva.

health, water, basic
The World Health Organization (WHO) and U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said more than 1 million deaths a year were associated with unclean births, and 15 percent of all patients attending a health facility developed infections. Wikimedia

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The data showed that West Africa had some of the lowest rates of access to water and sanitation.

WaterAid said this was alarming given that a lack of clean water and good hygiene had contributed to the spread of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak in the region, which killed more than 11,300 people between 2013 and 2016. (VOA)

Next Story

IITians Develop Affordable and Easy to Use Products to Help Boost Woman Hygiene

Set up about a year ago by Archit Agarwal and Harry Sehrawat, both students of IIT-Delhi, it has touched the Rs 1 crore revenue mark

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Products, Woman, Hygiene
One of such efforts is a startup named Sanfe. Pixabay

If you thought startups are all about technology, IITians are out to redefine that, smash taboos and create awareness around issues, like women hygiene, in their own innovative manner and ways.

One of such efforts is a startup named Sanfe. Set up about a year ago by Archit Agarwal and Harry Sehrawat, both students of IIT-Delhi, it has touched the Rs 1 crore revenue mark as per their claims.

On a trip to mountains, one of their female friends contracted urinary tract infection after using a dirty public washroom. It pushed them on the path of thinking and they realised over 50 per cent of Indian women face this kind of problem.

They decided to develop a device, which could be affordable and also easy to use. And thus came the ‘Stand and pee’. Priced at Rs 10 a piece, the device has registered good online sales.

Products, Woman, Hygiene
If you thought startups are all about technology, IITians are out to redefine that, smash taboos and create awareness around issues, like women hygiene, in their own innovative manner and ways. Pixabay

They also developed a special oil for women to get relief from period pain. According to them, relief roll on helps in immediate and long-lasting relaxation from period pain.

“The initial plan was to create a product to help women avoid dirty public washrooms. Later, we realised that there are lot of things that must be done to improve the state of female hygiene in India,” Sehrawat told IANS.

Another product that has been trying to bring a change in the society is an affordable device, developed by two students of IIT-Bombay and IIT-Goa. It helps clean reusable sanitary pads.

Devyani Maladkar (IIT-Goa) and Aishwarya Agarwal (IIT-Bombay) set up Cleanse Right to address the growing threat of menstrual waste to environment and public health. They invented an inexpensive and affordable device to clean reusable sanitary pads. It costs around Rs 1,500.

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“The machine has been designed in such a way that it rubs the cotton sanitary pads clean like human hands in a hygienic manner,” Aishwarya told IANS.

Both Sanfe and Cleanse Right are in the process of getting their inventions patented. However, while Sanfe has already hit the market with its products, the invention by Aishwarya and Devyani will have to wait for 2-3 years to be available commercially. (IANS)