Foundations of health in West Africa: the importance of WASH in healthcare facilities

Image: WaterAid/Guilhem Alandry

Our brief highlights how lack of water, sanitation and hygiene is putting lives at risk in healthcare facilities across West Africa and what action governments must take to urgently change this.

Nobody goes to a healthcare facility to get sick. Yet, millions of people across West Africa are risking infection and diseases when they seek care because their doctors and nurses don’t even have clean water to wash their hands. A lack of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities compromises the dignified and inclusive care of patients, and the safety of healthcare workers – a reality that is unacceptable and avoidable.

As the region battles a second wave of COVID-19, frontline healthcare workers and patients must be protected. Our policy brief calls for governments to take urgent action by investing in WASH infrastructure and promoting hygiene behaviour in healthcare facilities.