The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have warned that billions of people around the world would be unable to access clean household drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services in 2030 if the progress rate does not improve. According to a Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report titled “Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000 – 2020”, one in four people lacked safe drinking water in their homes with nearly half of the globe suffering from safely managed sanitation.
The COVID-19 pandemic also showed that three in ten people could not wash their hands with soap and water in their homes.
Speaking, the WHO Director-Genneral, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the importance of handwashing as it is the easiest way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Investment in water, sanitation and hygiene must be a global priority if we are to end this pandemic and build more resilient health systems,” Ghebreyesus said.
The report stated that between 2016 and 2020, the global population with access to safe drinking water increased from 70 to 74 percent, while safely managed sanitation increased from 47 to 54 percent and handwashing facilities with soap and grew from 67 to 71 percent.
However, with the current trend, billions of families will be left without basic water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services by 2030 as only 81 percent of the globe will have access to these critical life-saving services, leaving about 1.6 billion people deprived of basic commodities.
While commenting on the development, UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said “Even before the pandemic, millions of children and families were suffering without clean water, safe sanitation, and a place to wash their hands.”
“Despite our impressive progress to date to scale up these life-saving services, the alarming and growing needs continue to outstrip our ability to respond. The time has come to dramatically accelerate our efforts to provide every child and family with the most basic needs for their health and well-being, including fighting off infectious diseases like COVID-19,” she added.