COVID-19 and WASH: Mitigating the socio-economic impacts on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector

Global Wash Cluster (GWC), Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), UNICEF, ICRC (2020)

Published in: 2020
Pages: 5

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Global Wash Cluster (GWC), Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), UNICEF, ICRC

Author:
Global Wash Cluster (GWC), Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), UNICEF, ICRC

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Clean drinking water, improved sanitation and good hygiene practices are life-sustaining and play an important role in maintaining public health. The benefits of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) cannot be underestimated in controlling the spread of disease, as well as underpinning human rights, well-being and development. Safe water, sanitation and hygiene is a necessity to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and maintain good hygiene practices. Today billions of the most vulnerable people lack access to safe WASH services, despite its importance to health, social and economic outcomes, leaving them behind, and exposed to the risk of COVID-19.

A serious disease outbreak which has rapidly expanded into a pandemic, COVID-19 is reaching deadly proportions globally. COVID-19 poses direct threats and impacts with immediate consequences on human health. The severity of the current response to COVID-19 poses grave detrimental impacts on WASH service provision and sustainability if not adequately mitigated. WASH is a key preventative measure in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and is one of the principal public health recommendations.2 Equitable access to WASH commodities and services for must be protected and extended for all, without any form of discrimination by nationality, income or ethnicity.

Nevertheless, the most vulnerable populations with no access to adequate WASH or without social and economic safety nets will be hit hardest. This impacts marginalized people already affected by poverty, disability disability and ill-health, social exclusion and humanitarian crises including - refugees, migrants and internally displaced, those living in urban slums or camps, and with weak or no health systems.

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Global Wash Cluster (GWC), Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), UNICEF, ICRC (2020). COVID-19 and WASH: Mitigating the socio-economic impacts on the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector. Global Wash Cluster (GWC), Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), UNICEF, ICRC

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