A UNICEF-WHO report on accessible sanitation and hygiene has stated that during the course of the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, 30 per cent of the world population could not afford to wash its hands with soap and water. It also suggested that the ongoing efforts for better sanitation need to be quadrupled to ensure clean water and sanitation for all by 2030.
“Investment in water, sanitation and hygiene must be a global priority if we are to end this pandemic and build more resilient health systems,” WHO chief said. Photo: UNICEF
A United Nations (UN) report on the condition of the sanitation and hygiene in the world has revealed that the ongoing efforts with an aim to ensure universal access to clean drinking water by 2030 will have to be increased four times in order to meet the target. It also noted that at present two billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.
The report titled, ‘Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, 2000-2020’ has been jointly released by the two UN agencies — United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) on July 1.
“Five years into the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs), the world is not on track to achieve SDG targets 6.1 and 6.2 (drinking water and sanitation). Achieving universal coverage by 2030 will require a quadrupling of current rates of progress in safely managed drinking water services, safely managed sanitation services, and basic hygiene,” the report noted.
With the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, there is an ever-increasing emphasis to wash hands with soap frequently but the report mentioned that at the onset of the pandemic, 3 in 10 people worldwide could not wash their hands with soap and water within their homes.
“Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, yet millions of people across the world lack access to a reliable, safe supply of water,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted in the report.
“Investment in water, sanitation and hygiene must be a global priority if we are to end this pandemic and build more resilient health systems,” he added.
The report also notes great inequalities with vulnerable children and families suffering the most.
“To achieve universal access to safely managed drinking water by 2030, the current rate of progress in the Least Developed Countries would need to increase ten-fold. In fragile contexts, where people were twice as likely to lack safe drinking water, it would need to accelerate by a factor of 23,” the report stated.