Too many sanitation facilities in poor and developing countries do not have adequate access to water for the most basic needs of cleanliness and hygiene. Without clean water, sinks, soaps, toilets and hygiene procedures, billions of patients, care staff and families are placed at risk because there is no foundation or infrastructure for decent, safe, quality care. Births, surgery, infections, epidemics: none of these can be managed safely without water; and the situation is particularly alarming in these weeks marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, thousands of healthcare facilities are functioning as they can without the safeguard of water that cleans and protects life. Some world leaders in the field of health, including the United Nations, have become increasingly aware of this issue. Coalitions of government agencies, private and charitable organisations are developing action plans to address this problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.