- Reseach project
- – Western Pacific
On Global Handwashing Day on 15 October we reflected on the theme ‘Our future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together’, calling on research institutions, companies, CSO’s and government to think and act holistically about water, to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
At the recent WASH and the COVID-19 Pandemic Symposium, Bruce Gordon of the World Health Organization reflected that “much of the world experienced the pandemic in different ways because of their vulnerabilities to WASH” and that “we need to reframe handwashing from a behaviour change issue to also be an inequality issue”.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw countries with many different experiences, trying many different responses and observing different levels of resilience across their WASH, health and economic systems – reminding us that these systems need broad resilience to future shocks, since some are less anticipated than others.
The pandemic reminds us of the critical influence that personal hygiene has on health, and the vulnerability of WASH systems – and therefore the connected health benefits – to disruptions.
In 2020 2.3 billion people lacked basic handwashing services, with water and soap, including 670 million people with no handwashing facility at all.
While the achievement of SDG6 is being challenged by this global pandemic, we must not lose sight of the interconnectedness of personal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with other sectors – water resources, land management and planning, energy, education, health, infrastructure, finance. We need to find ways to practically work collaboratively to explore inclusive solutions, share knowledge, and forge new approaches in pursuit of sustainable and resilient water, sanitation and hygiene for all. Integrated Water Management helps us do this.
Learn more about Water and WASH Futures Conference here and International WaterCentre’s capacity building on Integrated Water Management, Water Leadership and T-shaped Water Professionals at www.watercentre.org