WASH Critical To Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance

Devex: Opinion: Our frontline defense against ‘superbugs’ is fatally weakened
Tim Wainwright, chief executive of WaterAid U.K.

“In Geneva this week, perhaps no other agenda item at the World Health Assembly seems so pressing, so frightening, so potentially global in reach, as antimicrobial resistance. … Yet what worries me deeply is the lack of attention being paid to the most obvious, most basic preventive frontline defenses against superbugs: water, soap, and decent toilets. … [This problem] cannot be ignored or neglected any longer if the ambition of ‘health for all’ is to become reality. … WaterAid was pleased to contribute our experience to WHO and UNICEF’s ‘practical steps’ report, published as a companion to the new data on WASH in health care facilities and summarizing very clearly eight tangible, specific actions countries can take to improve services. At this year’s [World Health Assembly], health ministers have the opportunity to address this issue head-on and to adopt an ambitious resolution, which could provide the cornerstone for a step-change in action…” (5/23).