Health centre water crisis increasing Covid-19 risk: WHO – world news

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One in four health centres worldwide lacks access to water, putting around 1.8 billion people at increased risk of contracting the coronavirus, the World Health Association said Monday.

The lack of this basic amenity endangers patients and staff alike at such centres, the WHO said in a joint outline with the UN children’s agency UNICEF. The study was once based on data from 165 countries.

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“Working in a healthcare facility without water, sanitation and hygiene is akin to sending nurses and doctors to work without personal protective equipment,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

These elements “are essential to stopping Covid-19. But there are still major gaps to triumph over, especially in least developed countries.”

According to WHO figures, while health professionals make up less than three percent of the population, they account for 14 percent of Covid-19 cases recorded world wide.

“Sending healthcare workers and people in need of remedy to facilities without clean water, secure toilets or even soap puts their lives at risk,” said UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore.

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The outline also found that one in three health facilities world wide could not warranty hand hygiene, while one in 10 did not have access to sanitation services and products.

The figures are even worse for the world’s 47 least-developed countries (LDCs), where half of healthcare centres don’t have any access to drinking water, a quarter don’t have any access to water for hygiene purposes, and three in five lack basic sanitation services and products.

The WHO and UNICEF calculated that it would cost around $1 per inhabitant to supply basic water services and products in these countries’ health centres — and 20 cents every to take care of such facilities every year.

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