'40% of world’s population lack handwashing facilities at home'

News Desk
15 October 2020, Thu
Published: 08:05

'40% of world’s population lack handwashing facilities at home'

Forty percent of the world’s population, or 3 billion people, do not have a handwashing facility with water and soap at home, according to new estimates from UNICEF.

The number is much higher in the least developed countries, where nearly three-quarters of the population lack such facilities although the pandemic has highlighted the critical role of hand hygiene in disease prevention.

Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene at UNICEF, said that it is “unacceptable” that the most vulnerable communities are unable to use the simplest of methods to protect themselves and their loved ones, according to UNB reports.

The pandemic has highlighted the critical role of hand hygiene in disease prevention. It has also stressed a pre-existing problem for many: Handwashing with soap remains out of reach for millions of children where they’re born, live, and learn.

She also said that we must take immediate action to make handwashing with soap accessible to everyone, everywhere, now and in the future.

The situation is also alarming at schools: 43% of schools globally (70% in the least developed countries) lack a handwashing facility with water and soap, affecting hundreds of millions of school-age children, according to the estimates.  

Against this backdrop, UNICEF, along with the UN World Health Organization launched the 'Hand Hygiene for All' initiative to support the development of national roadmaps to accelerate and sustain progress towards making hand hygiene a mainstay in public health interventions.

This means rapidly improving access to handwashing facilities, water, soap, and hand sanitizer in all settings, as well as promoting behavioral change interventions for optimal hand hygiene practices, said UNICEF.

breakingnews/fas