Quality, Accessible and Safe Healthcare: Lessons on Strengthening WASH in Healthcare Facilities

Blue graphic featuring the cover image including parents nursing a young baby in a healthcare waiting room in Pursat  Province, Cambodia

Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities (HCFs) is critical to the delivery of high-quality and safe care, yet the first global WASH in HCF status report in 2015 revealed a crisis in this fundamental aspect of quality healthcare.

This report synthesises and shares lessons arising from Water for Women WASH in HCF projects implemented by civil society organisation (CSO) partners in eight Asia-Pacific countries from 2018 to 2022, including Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.  

In these contexts, and across the Asia and Pacific regions, complex challenges to access and the sustainability of WASH services in HCFs exist due to the geographical remoteness of communities, fragile water sources, natural disasters and limited infrastructure, and are exacerbated by climate change.

This report highlights the achievements of partners in advancing progress towards basic service levels and draws out lessons learnt under three themes emerging from the research and practical experience across the Fund:

  1. CSOs’ role in supporting governments' action — global approaches for WASH in HCF
  2. WASH FIT strengthens collaboration at subnational and facility level
  3. WASH in HCF progress is enhanced through coordination and learning.


Who is it for?

The recommendations should inform CSOs’ future project designs and advocacy to important sector actors to improve support for universal coverage and access to WASH in HCFs by 2030.
A thumbnail of this resource

What does it include?

  • Key lessons for CSOs working on WASH in HCFs when engaging
    with stakeholders, including governments and policymakers, donors, healthcare facilities, communities, non-governmental organisations and other CSOs 

  • Use of three main global tools to inform efforts to improve WASH in HCFs — the Joint Monitoring Programme WASH Service Ladder for WASH in HCF, the Eight Practical Steps for WASH in HCFs and WASH FIT
  • CSOs’ role in supporting governments’ action — global approaches for WASH in HCFs



Citation: Water for Women. (2023). Quality, Accessible and Safe Healthcare: Lessons on Strengthening WASH in Healthcare Facilities. https://www.waterforwomenfund.org/en/news/quality-accessible-and-safe-healthcare-lessons-on-strengthening-wash-in-healthcare-facilities.aspx

A Water for Women logo locked up with the learning agenda theme logo for Improved WASH in Healthcare Facilities

Water for Women acknowledges Bernice Sarpong of WaterAid Australia for her leadership of this collaborative Learning Agenda initiative and the authorship of this report. Water for Women partners contributed extensively to this initiative in terms of scoping, sharing learnings and the synthesis of findings. We also recognise their leadership and support for progress towards WASH in HCFs across Asia and the Pacific.

Special thanks to the members of the advisory group for this Learning Agenda initiative, who supported the initiative’s development and contributed to learning activities. They include the members of the Water for Women Health Reference Group, consisting of colleagues from SNV Bhutan, World Vision PNG, Plan International Australia, Live & Learn Environmental Education, WaterAid PNG, WaterAid Myanmar, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the International Rescue Committee. Thanks to WaterAid colleagues who supported this Learning Agenda initiative: Meredith Hickman, Fraser Goff, Clare Hanley and Kyla Smith. Thanks also to members of the Water for Women Fund Coordinator team who played a substantial role in the development and delivery of the initiative and this report: Matthew Bond, Alison Baker, Caroline Hardiman, Zahra Bolouri and Kate Orr, and Mia Cusack and Bianca Nelson Vatnsdal who led the report’s graphic design.

This work was supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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