Water Sanitation Health

Improving nutrition outcomes with better water, sanitation and hygiene

Mother and baby in African market

A growing body of evidence indicates that access to safe drinking-water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services has an important positive impact on nutrition. Achieving the six Global Nutrition Targets 2025, as well as global goals for WASH and health, will require greater investments in nutrition and WASH. It will also require maximizing impact through smart and sustainable integrated actions.
This document, jointly prepared by WHO, UNICEF and USAID, summarizes the current evidence on the benefits of WASH for improving nutrition outcomes and describes how WASH interventions can be integrated into national nutrition policies and programmes to add value. It will also serve as a valuable tool to help countries implement the policy options on WASH that are recommended in the Framework for Action adopted by the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) held in Rome in November 2014.

A practical guide to auditing water safety plans

Enforcement of Water Safety Plan (WSP) requirements, as well as general WSP success and sustainability, requires ongoing WSP auditing, i.e. independent and systematic checks of WSP completeness, implementation in practice and effectiveness. The WHO/IWA document A practical guide to auditing water safety plans, just published, provides guidance on developing and implementing a WSP auditing scheme, covering such topics as the aim and role of auditing, auditor training and certification, audit criteria, audit timing and frequency and audit reporting.

Water quality for the Olympic Games, Rio De Janeiro, 2016

Recreational waters
J. Duffus

16 October 2015 -- WHO in coordination with PAHO provides technical advice to national authorities in Brazil and to the International Olympic Committee on matters of public health with visitors and athletes attending the Olympic Games. The Olympic athletes will be in contact with the water in Rio De Janeiro for the 2016 Olympic Games for sailing, rowing, canoeing and swimming events. WHO recommends that national authorities follow the “Guidelines for Safe Recreational Water Environments” to protect public health and ensure that water quality testing and sanitary inspections are carried out and the source of any pollution is addressed.

Water sanitation and hygiene for accelerating and sustaining progress on neglected tropical diseases: A global strategy 2015-2020

A health worker baths the limb of a woman infected with Lymphatic Filariasis in Orissa, India.
Sean Hawkey

Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) affect over 1 billion people, causing chronic disability and death, primarily among the poorest of the world – the same people who often lack access to even the most basic water and sanitation services. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is critical for the prevention and care of almost all the NTDs targeted for elimination and control. Greater collaboration is urgently needed if targets are to be met.

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About us

WHO works on aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene where the health burden is high, where interventions could make a major difference and where the present state of knowledge is poor. Our work is divided into six core activities:

  • Drinking-water quality management
  • Water supply and sanitation monitoring
  • Cholera surveillance and prevention
  • Water and sanitation in different settings
  • Water resources management
  • Other activities (including economic aspects, climate change, and the Millenium Development Goals).