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The World Health Professions Alliance speaks for more than 41 million health professionals worldwide, and is the only alliance which convenes knowledge and experience from the key health professions in more than 130 countries.

WHA72 Agenda Item 12.5 on Patient Safety - Water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities

WHA year

May 2019

I am speaking on behalf of the World Medical Association, supported by the World Health Professions Alliance (WHPA), representing over 31 million nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, dentists, and physicians in over 130 countries.

We thank the Director General for the report which highlights that many Member States are failing to prioritise and most importantly fund access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.

WHPA supports the resolution (EB144.R5) for adoption by the Assembly. We are pleased to see that the resolution encourages Member States to specifically include health professionals (HPs) in developing and implementing roadmaps (A72/27 Clause 1.(2)). HPs are best placed to advise on the practical design and application of new practices and routines in health care facilities.

We are encouraged by the resolution’s emphasis on directing “efforts towards strengthening health systems as a whole” (A72/27 Clause 2.(1)) and offer our support in reaching out to HPs globally to assist with the “development of national road maps and targets for WASH in health care facilities” (A72/27 Clause 2(5)). 

We urge governments to allocate resources to develop, implement and monitor WASH standards, incentivise facility leaders to implement these standards and offer continuing development and training for HPs. The five moments of hand hygiene should be widely adopted into training, with training also including information on how to secure WASH during and after disasters or emergencies.