Healthcare professionals are at the frontline of delivering essential healthcare to society – the newborn, the sick and the old. But they often lack the most basic means to keep our patients safe – clean water, toilets and the means to maintain hygiene.

The Healthy Start campaign is bringing together health professionals from around the world because we know:

  • Clean water, toilets and good hygiene are fundamental to delivering quality healthcare for all patients.
  • Without them, millions of newborn babies and mothers are at risk from life-threatening preventable infections every year.
  • Better water and sanitation services in healthcare facilities make for a better, and safer, working environment and a healthier and happier workforce.
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What's the problem?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 38% of healthcare facilities in low- and middle-income countries lack access to water, 19% do not have adequate sanitation and 35% do not have soap for handwashing.

Leaders of all UN member states have promised to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all by 2030. This will be impossible without clean water, adequate sanitation and good hygiene in all healthcare facilities – that's why we're working with health professionals to call for quality healthcare for all by 2030.

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Take action

No matter who you are or how much time you have, you can help support the Healthy Start campaign in a variety of ways: 

We have lots of resources to support you, including guides, template letters, posters and films > 

Whatever action you take, you'll be helping nurses, midwives, hospital cleaners, doctors, surgeons and other health professionals from across the world make a difference.

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Big news

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has issued a global call to action on improving water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities. Speaking on World Water Day, 22 March 2018, he said:

"Today, I am using the launch of the Water Action Decade to make a global call to action for water, sanitation and hygiene – or WASH – in all health care facilities.

A recent survey of 100,000 facilities found that more than half lack simple necessities, such as running water and soap - and they are supposed to be healthcare facilities.

The result is more infections, prolonged hospital stays and sometimes death.

We must work to prevent the spread of disease.

Improved water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities is critical to this effort."

Antonio Guterres