What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Save the Children highlights the importance of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for fighting COVID-19.
• How can you support WASH efforts to address COVID-19?
• Access WASH tools for donors.
As of March 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) had reported some 719,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID19) and 33,000 deaths in 203 countries. Declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11, infections have spread at a rapid pace, creating an unprecedented global crisis. Many countries continue with full lockdown measures to help slow transmission. Healthcare systems are overwhelmed.
The pandemic has hit Europe and North America hard, and there are fears that African countries could see a similar outbreak, which could have devastating impacts on people’s health, education and livelihoods.
The ability to protect ourselves literally falls into our own hands, as COVID-19 can spread between people through contact with droplets of an infected person. Good hygiene practices are among the key measures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 – and hand hygiene is at the forefront. Effective hand hygiene entails washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds – this is one of the main ways to protect yourself from contracting the infection.
Handwashing with soap is simple but effective. This is because it inactivates and removes virus particles that may be on our hands. When used properly, soap effectively dissolves the fatty membrane that surrounds the virus particles, causing them to fall apart and be inactivated.
Research shows that handwashing with soap is linked to a 16-23% reduction in acute respiratory infection, substantial reductions in neonatal infections, and a 50% reduction in pneumonia (source: The Lancet).
Water, soap, and supplies to prevent and control the spread of infections are quintessential for frontline health workers to be able to perform their jobs effectively – yet one in six healthcare facilities globally has no soap and water available for patients, doctors and nurses to wash their hands. Research has shown that over 30% of healthcare facilities in Tanzania lack access to clean water, making hand hygiene a challenge (source: Tanzania Service Provision Assessment).
Additionally, while European countries are implementing lockdown measures and social distancing, many people in low-income countries rely on day-to-day incomes and simply don’t have the option of remaining home. In these places, investing in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is an effective strategy for helping people to practice good hygiene and reduce their risk of COVID-19 and other diseases.
Read the full article about WASH and COVID-19 at Save the Children.