Hand washing is vital for fighting infectious diseases, including COVID-19. However, 40 per cent of the world’s population or about three billion people do not have a hand washing facility with water and soap at home, according to a new estimate of UNICEF.
Pointing out that Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role of hand hygiene, UNICEF Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Kelly Ann Naylor said “hand washing with soap remains out of reach for millions of children where they’re born, live and learn.”.
Naylor also noted that it was unacceptable that most of the vulnerable communities are unable to use the simplest methods to protect themselves and their loved ones. “We must take immediate action to make hand washing with soap accessible to everyone, everywhere – now and in the future,” Naylor said.
The UNICEF estimates notes that t5ye situation was alarming in schools as 43 per cent globally (70 per cent in least developed countries) lack hand washing facility with water and soap,
The UNICEF said that they have launched the initiative “Hand Hygiene for All” to support the development of national roadmaps to accelerate and sustain progress towards making hand hygiene a mainstay in public health interventions.
- Only 3 out of 5 people worldwide have basic hand washing facilities.
- 40 per cent of the world’s population (3 billion people), do not have a hand washing facility
- Nearly three quarters of the people in the least developed countries lack basic hand washing facilities at home.
- 43 per cent of schools lacked a hand washing facility with water and soap
- In the least developed countries, 7 out of 10 schools have no place for children to wash their hands with water and soap.
- In sub-Saharan Africa, 63 per cent of people in urban areas, or 258 million people, lack access to hand washing.
- Some 47 per cent of urban South Africans, for example, or 18 million people, lack basic hand washing facilities at home with the richest urban dwellers nearly 12 times more likely to have access to hand washing facility.
- In Central and South Asia, 22 per cent of people in urban areas, or 153 million people, lack access to hand washing.
- Nearly 50 per cent of urban Bangladeshis, for example, or 29 million people; and 20 per cent of urban Indians, or 91 million, lack basic hand washing facilities at home.
- In East Asia, 28 per cent of urban Indonesians, or 41 million people, and 15 per cent of urban Filipinos, or 7 million people, lack basic hand washing facilities at home.