Superbugs flourish as a quarter of health facilities lack basic water services worldwideRuth Mabhiza
Superbugs flourish as a quarter of health facilities lack basic water services worldwide.
CREDIT: TOM GREENWOOD/WATERAID
One in four healthcare facilities around the world lack even basic access to water services, exacerbating the spread of drug resistant superbugs, a major report has warned.
In the first comprehensive review of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) in healthcare centres, Unicef and the World Health Organization found that roughly two billion people use health facilities lacking basic water services globally – while almost 900 million people use centres with no water services at all.
The report, published on Wednesday, added that one in five healthcare facilities do not have toilets – impacting 1.5 billion people.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene services in health facilities are the most basic requirements of infection prevention and control, and of quality care,” said António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General.
“They are fundamental to respecting the dignity and human rights of every person who seeks health care and of health workers themselves,” he added.
Poor sanitary conditions have been directly linked to rising rates of so-called superbugs, which develop when bacteria and other pathogens become resistant to antibiotics.
The WHO has listed antimicrobial resistance as one of its top threats to global health, and current estimates suggest that nearly 10 million people a year will die from untreatable superbugs by 2050 – a dramatic increase from the 700,000 deaths linked to antibiotic resistance in 2014.