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July 21, 2024
Health& Hygiene Public Health

Unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene: a persistent health burden

The persistent burden on health posed by inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is highlighted in an editorial from the September 2023 WHO Bulletin. According to WHO estimates, up to 1.4 million deaths could be prevented annually with improved access to these vital services.

Despite advancements toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which aims for universal access to safely managed water and sanitation by 2030, billions of people still lack safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, and the ability to practice proper hand hygiene at home.

While challenges such as funding shortages and systemic issues in WASH continue to exist, the editorial emphasizes the potential for rapid progress through targeted investments, improved governance, optimization of data, and adherence to standards for drinking water and sanitation. These measures not only strengthen public health and reduce disease transmission but also enhance the resilience of WASH systems against pressures such as climate change and urbanization.

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