20 June 2018

Africa: Wellbeing Foundation Takes Global Water, Sanitation and Health Campaign to Washington DC

Photo: Wellbeing Foundation Africa
Toyin Saraki with Hank Habicht, Bud Rock and Kelly Bridges at Global Water 2020.
press release

Washington, DC — Toyin Saraki convenes government and sector leaders in battle against epidemics and disease

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa and its Founder-President, Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, took the global Water, Sanitation and Health (WASH) campaign to Washington D.C last week.

The WBGFA delegation met with members of Congress, the US Department of State and the World Bank – as well as convening disease control experts and high-level stakeholders.

The WASH campaign, launched with the World Health Organization (WHO) in Abuja, Nigeria, last month, seeks to improve WASH conditions in healthcare facilities, schools and communities.

Mrs Saraki released the following statement after the visit:

"In an analysis of 129,000 healthcare facilities in the developing world, researchers found that more than 65 percent of facilities lack both running water and soap for handwashing. This endangers not only patients and staff but presents a danger to all of society, as health facilities become unable to contain diseases."

"The goal of our visit was to discuss best practice, innovation and funding to improve WASH conditions all over the world. During my meetings with Members of Congress, I commended the commitment from USAID, with the World Bank and others, to provide an estimated 2.5 million Nigerians with sustainable access to basic water services, and help 80,000 Nigerians gain access to basic sanitation by 2022."

"The scope of this problem extends far beyond Nigeria, however, to a majority of health care facilities in developing countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America where 50% of facilities lack piped water, 33% lack basic toilets and 39% lack soap. Pregnant women and newborns are thereby placed in huge danger and at risk of sepsis, which is a leading cause of death in hospitals."

"The global campaign will therefore co-ordinate with Parliaments, the WHO, the UN and stakeholders all over the world. We cannot allow mothers and newborns to die from preventable and unnecessary complications, simply because the most basic of WASH services are not available."

"I have committed to work with strategic partners 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. We must also release the agency of frontline health workers to lead the way and save millions of lives."

"Our meetings with the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department and other stakeholders have confirmed that clean water is medicine. I will use their expertise, along with the WHO and all interested parties, to save lives all over the world with clean hands."

At a high-level meeting of stakeholders convened by Mrs Saraki, the Founder-President of the WBFA and International Confederation of Midwives Global Goodwill Ambassador, was praised for her call for all interested parties to cooperate, and not compete with each other.

The global WASH campaign has also been commended by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization.

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