The WHO and UNICEF meeting held in Geneva in March 2015 on “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Health Care Facilities” brought together key stakeholders from the health and WASH communities. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the urgent need to address the lack of adequate WASH in health facilities and the serious repercussions of this for the health of both patients and healthcare workers.
Since that first meeting, during which WHO, UNICEF and partners committed to the goal of providing access to WASH services in all health facilities, in all settings, by 2030, significant progress has been made.
Soapbox has been part of the ‘Monitoring Task Team which has involved contributing, along with other experts in the field, to the development of survey indicators to determine the state of WASH in health facility outpatient departments. The indicators are important to determine the existing state of WASH, to inform improvement interventions, and to monitor changes.
The next stage of indicator development is to focus on the state of WASH in birthing settings. Delivery is a particularly vulnerable time for mothers and newborns and access to WASH is absolutely essential to ensuring their health and survival. Given Soapbox’s work and expertise in the area of maternal and newborn health and infection prevention and control, we have been invited to join a meeting in Geneva, with other key stakeholders, to discuss and establish these indicators.
Soapbox’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Wendy Graham, will be attending the meeting and also taking the opportunity to discuss the work of Soapbox with other colleagues in the field. We are delighted to be able to contribute to this important work and look forward to hearing the outcomes of the meeting in due course.