Wellbeing Foundation Africa reveals commitments with Global Partners at Historic Assembly in Washington DC; Toyin Saraki hails “catalytic progress” on unprecedented Water, Sanitation and Hygiene commitments
The Wellbeing Foundation Africa yesterday joined philanthropies, NGOs, faith-based organizations, financial institutions, corporations, and universities at a historic convening to announce new and wide-ranging commitments to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions in healthcare facilities.
45% of healthcare facilities in ‘Least Developed Countries’ lack basic water services, and 1.5 billion people around the world have to use healthcare facilities without basic sanitation. The impact on infant and maternal mortality, pandemic and infection prevention and control, and antibiotic resistance, is devastating and well-documented; taking on a sharper dimension in fragile and humanitarian situations."
The new commitments follow the launch last year of a global WASH campaign by Toyin Saraki, Founder-President of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group to the World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa, who welcomed the new commitments, commenting:
“I commend our global partners gathered in Washington DC for driving the issue of water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities forward so quickly.”
“These commitments are truly unprecedented and reflect the catalytic progress and impact of unprecedented advocacy at local, regional and global levels.”
“In response to the UN Secretary General António Guterres’ Call to Action on World Water Day in March 2018, I retraced the steps of each of the programmes undertaken by the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and launched its new "Clean Hands For All" WASH campaign with the World Health Organization in Nigeria.”
“I committed to work with my partners in the global health and development communities to stop mothers and newborns from dying from preventable and unnecessary complications, simply because the most basic of WASH services are not available, and to ensure that all countries implement the 2017 World Health Assembly Sepsis Resolution. Hand hygiene must be a quality indicator in every facility and a national marker of health care quality, with access to soap and water monitored and assessed.”
“To that end I conducted high-level meetings at the US State Department, with the World Bank, and with Congress to accelerate progress on WASH – and in many cases reverse worsening trends and indicators.”
“At the World Health Assembly last month in Geneva, I spoke in favour of the historic WASH resolution, and was delighted when, for the first time, the 194 WHO Member States joined together to acknowledge this global health crisis and move toward concrete action.”
“That resolution, combined with the unprecedented commitments made today, represent a leap forward in improving WASH conditions in Nigeria and around the world and have the potential to save millions of lives.”
“The Wellbeing Foundation has committed to disseminating information and advocacy regarding WASH standards through its influential MamaCare midwives and our partnership with Unilever Lifebuoy, teaching about WASH in healthcare facilities and schools, continuing its #WASHWednesday advocacy campaign, and developing our WASH for Healthcare Facilities Proper Cleaning programme.”
“Having successfully introduced and intensified our WASH for Wellbeing hygiene in health care facilities techniques to health workers and patients in over 570 medical facilities in 5 states of Nigeria, our challenge remains taking those standards to a national scale in Nigeria's 36 states of the federation - to that end I was encouraged by the speech in November last year given by His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari declaring a state of emergency in water, sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria and launching the National Plan of Action.”
The new commitments catalyse funding, technical assistance, business strategies, research and advocacy.
Representatives from UNICEF, WHO, World Bank, U.S. government (CDC, USAID, Dept. of State) and select ambassadors to the U.S. were also in attendance, alongside a delegation from the Wellbeing Foundation Africa, to take part in the historic commitments.