WHO launches global guidelines on sanitation and health

Posted on Monday October 01, 2018

On 1 October, World Health Organization (WHO) launched its first global guidelines on sanitation and health, as safe sanitation is essential for health, from preventing infection to improving and maintaining mental and social well-being. The new guidelines set out four principal recommendations:

  • Sanitation interventions should ensure entire communities have access to toilets that safely contain excreta.
  • The full sanitation system should undergo local health risk assessments to protect individuals and communities from exposure to excreta – whether this be from unsafe toilets, leaking storage or inadequate treatment.
  • Sanitation should be integrated into regular local government-led planning and service provision to avert the higher costs associated with retrofitting sanitation and to ensure sustainability.
  • The health sector should invest more and play a coordinating role in sanitation planning to protect public health.

Safe, secure and sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a key priority of Water for Women. Safe sanitation is essential for health, from preventing infection to improving and maintaining mental and social well-being.

Developed in accordance with the processes set out in the WHO Handbook for Guideline Development, these guidelines provide comprehensive advice on maximising the health impact of sanitation interventions. The guidelines summarise the evidence on the links between sanitation and health, provide evidence-informed recommendations, and offer guidance for international, national and local sanitation policies and programme actions. The guidelines also articulate and support the role of health authorities in sanitation policy and programming to help ensure that health risks are identified and managed effectively.

The audience for the guidelines is national and local authorities responsible for the safety of sanitation systems and services, including policy makers, planners, implementers within and outside the health sector and those responsible for the development, implementation and monitoring of sanitation standards and regulations.

Access the WHO guidelines on Sanitation and Health.


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