Access to improved water, sanitation, and hygiene can help prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections and allows healthcare staff to offer safe, clear, and desirable treatment and services to patients.
Yearly, an estimated 15% of patients develop one or more infections during a hospital stay and that at any given time 10 of every 100 hospitalized patients in developing countries acquire at least one healthcare-associated infection.
The lack of access to an improved water source and availability of soap at many healthcare facilities in resource-limited settings and gaps in the awareness of the importance of enhanced hand hygiene and infection prevention & control undercut the ability for healthcare staff to offer safe services and for patients to protect themselves from acquiring infections. For healthcare providers, patients, and visitors to be able to practice good hand hygiene in health settings, water and soap must be accessible.
However, a recent UNICEF/WHO report on the availability of water, sanitation, and hygiene in 66,000 healthcare facilities in 54 countries acknowledged that that 38% of healthcare facilities did not have an improved water source, 19% did not have improved sanitation facilities, and 35% did not have soap and water for handwashing.