Honourable chair and delegates,

WaterAid is concerned that within the discussions on AMR (antimicrobial resistance), water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is given insufficient attention.

Provision of safe WASH can:

•    Reduce the spread of infection and thus, the need for antimicrobial use.

•    Reduce antibiotic misuse, by preventing diarrhoeal disease, and reducing non-clinically indicated prophylactic use of antibiotics to prevent healthcare-associated infections in health facilities with poor infection prevention and control.

•    Reduce opportunities for resistance to emerge and spread in the environment through safe management of waste and water resources.

Yet new data from WHO and UNICEF show that nearly half of healthcare facilities in least-developed countries do not have a basic water service, and 1.5 billion people worldwide have no decent toilets at their local healthcare facility. Almost half of healthcare facilities do not have hand hygiene services at points of care. How can the global threat of AMR be tackled when these fundamental building blocks are missing?

WaterAid urges member states and WHO to take the following actions:

1.    Adopt the proposed resolution on WASH in healthcare facilities and put in place the financing to implement it.

2.    Focus prevention efforts in national AMR action plans on supporting WASH services and practices in healthcare facilities. 

3.    Adopt, champion and implement WHO’s Sanitation and Health Guidelines and WHO’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality to ensure WASH services are of sufficient quality and quantity to protect human health and curb AMR.

Thank you.

This statement was given by Aly Sow, Programme Manager at WaterAid Mali, on 23 May 2019.