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WASH in delivery rooms

As we reported a few weeks ago, Soapbox was invited to attend a meeting in Geneva at the end of July on the development of indicators focusing on the state of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in birthing settings in low and middle-income countries. The meeting took place as part of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme WASH in Healthcare Facilities work.

Soapbox’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Wendy Graham, attended the two-day meeting with a number of other experts in the field of WASH, maternal health and infection prevention and control.

The meeting concentrated on developing a draft core list of indicators focused on the physical location where women labour and deliver (or if these are separate areas – the delivery room where the cord is cut). A core list of indicators, along with questions/activities to construct them, is regarded as the minimum set to monitor standards, be universally applicable across birth settings, and be relevant to national and international monitoring. As well as the core, there is also the intention to develop an expanded set of indicators where more data is wanted and can be realistically captured.

While much of the focus of the core indicators is on infrastructure and resource availability, it was recognised during the meeting that it is also critical to capture information on cleaning of the delivery room. Given Soapbox’s experience in the area and background in developing needs assessments and survey tools, we have been tasked with developing these indicators and have partnered with WaterAid to do so.

The first draft of the cleaning indicators will be ready at the end of the month and we look forward to receiving feedback from the wider Monitoring Task Team, with the prospect of piloting in September.