40% of World’s Population Lack Hand-washing Facilities at Home
New York – Although hand-washing with soap is vital in the fight against infectious diseases, including Covid-19, billions of people around the world do not have ready access to a place to do it, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Thursday.
40% of the world’s population – or 3 billion people – do not have a hand-washing facility with water and soap at home and the number is much higher in least developed countries, where nearly three-quarters go without, according to new estimates from UNICEF.
For Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at UNICEF, it is “unacceptable” that the most vulnerable communities are unable to use the simplest of methods to protect themselves and their loved ones.
“The pandemic has highlighted the critical role of hand hygiene in disease prevention. It has also stressed a pre-existing problem for many: hand-washing with soap remains out of reach for millions of children where they’re born, live and learn,” she said.
“We must take immediate action to make hand-washing with soap accessible to everyone, everywhere – now and in the future,” the official added.
The situation is also alarming at schools as 43% globally (70% in least developed countries) lack a hand-washing facility with water and soap, affecting hundreds of millions of school-age children, according to the estimates.
The estimates were released on the occasion of the Global Hand-washing Day, which serves as a platform to raise awareness on the importance of hand-washing with soap.