WASH for Public Health
In Sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of the population live without access to basic sanitation. This has far-reaching consequences for public health. In order to counteract the spread of waterborne diseases in the long term, water and wastewater systems must be considered holistically. This is summarised under the term WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).
Lack of Infrastructure and Systems
Basic sanitation is severely underdeveloped in many areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. There are often not enough sanitary facilities or they expose users to the risk of coming into contact with faecal matter. In addition, there is no controlled treatment of waste water. In urban areas, only every fourth person has access to basic hand washing facilities.
Water as a Carrier of Disease
Contaminated water is one of the main infection routes for the transmission of deadly diseases such as cholera. In many cases, contaminated water cannot be detected by the senses. This makes it more difficult and important to impart knowledge about personal hygiene, the use of water and the far-reaching consequences for health.
3 out of 4 people in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to basic sanitation facilities.
Around 10% practice public defecation. The number of unreported cases is high.
Half of all hospital beds in the world are occupied by people suffering from waterborne diseases.
40% of diseases caused by lack of access to basic sanitation and drinking water are transmitted to schools.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, only an average of 15% of the population has access to basic hand washing facilities with soap and water. The importance of this everyday hygiene measure has long been underestimated. Access to hand washing facilities was only recently included into the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Girls and women are particularly affected by a lack of sanitary facilities. Hygiene articles for menstruation are practically non-existent. Less than one-third of schools offer gender-separated sanitary facilities, which increases the risk of harassment or sexual assault. Many young women stay away from school, which further increases gender inequality.
TOILETS AT SCHOOL
Lack of access to basic sanitation has a major impact on everyday school life. Toilets are overloaded during breaks, pupils practice public defecation or stay at home. Pathogens spread quickly due to poor hand washing facilities, especially in overcrowded schools.
The improvement of the WASH situation improves the lives of thousands of people. Our goals are based on this vision:
Combat the spread of waterborne diseases effectively
Reduce gender inequalities with regard to infrastructure and awareness-raising measures
Support and connect local actors and structures in a goal-oriented way in order to prevent parallel structures
SAFE BASIC SANITATION
Local partners are enabled to set up sanitary facilities which are connected to wastewater management systems. Wastewater management includes the removal and transport of faecal matter to the treatment plant.
REGULAR TRAINING IN HYGIENE
Community-based organisations carry out door-to-door hygiene training before, during and after infrastructural interventions. In addition to raising awareness, they collect data on the use of toilets and personal hygiene.
Local residents are involved in the process from the outset. This creates incentives for a sustainable use of infrastructure and transfers responsibility to the local population and institutions.
WfW establishes long-term relationships with local partner organisations and provides them with organisational support. They are the main actors in implementation, building on the joint conceptual design of projects.