Thank you. Dan Jones, from WaterAid.
On Wednesday Dr Tedros said, “Health facilities must be places of healing, not harm, and if we are not doing the basics, who will trust us with other things?”
And at the start of the week, Richard Horton said, “more people die from poor quality healthcare than they do from not having access to healthcare”.
The scale of the challenge of lack of water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities was highlighted by Maria and Maggie earlier. This is within our power to change. And in 2019, there should be no excuse not to.
The climate crisis is increasing the frequency and intensity of droughts, extreme rainfall and severe cyclones, and modifying the transmission of food-borne, waterborne and infectious diseases, resulting in large impacts on water, sanitation and hygiene. Progress is slow, and, with the increasing adverse impacts of climate change, WaterAid is extremely concerned that provision of quality healthcare is being, and will continue to be, fatally undermined.
With the UHC [Universal Health Coverage] High Level Meeting on the horizon and the Zero Draft of the Political Declaration completely lacking any mention of climate-resilient WASH in healthcare facilities, it’s time we confronted the elephant in the room. We cannot achieve green, safe, climate-resilient healthcare facilities without safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
This is not about infrastructure – this is about people. The midwife who doesn’t have somewhere to wash her hands before delivering a baby. The baby being born into a dirty and unsafe environment. The patient forced to take medication with unsafe water.
We cannot let this crisis continue. We have the solutions that consider resilience, consider green technologies and that meet the needs of all. WaterAid strongly urges member states to act.
This statement was given by Dan Jones, Advocacy Coordinator at WaterAid UK, on 24 May 2019.