Water Sanitation Health

Global burden of disease: impacts of poor water, sanitation and hygiene

WHO/Fid Thompson 2012

6 May 2014 – WHO and 14 collaborating research institutions have estimated that 842 000 diarrhoea deaths in low- and middle- income countries can be attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene. This amounts to 1.5% of the total disease burden and 58% of diarrhoeal diseases.

UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water

The UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS 2014), published biannually, presents data from 94 countries and 23 external support agencies. It offers a comprehensive analysis of strengths and challenges in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) within and across countries.

Key questions and answers on Ebola and water, sanitation and hygiene; health care waste

Provision of water and sanitation plays an essential role in protecting human health during all disease outbreaks, including the current Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak. In addition, safe handling, treatment and disposal of health-care waste (HCW) are important tasks within the broader activities of stopping the Ebola outbreak. These two question and answer documents summarize recommendations and best practices regarding water, sanitation and hygiene and health care waste to prevent transmission of EVD and many other infectious diseases.

Water Safety in Distribution Systems

Water quality deterioration in distribution systems, mainly caused by inappropriate planning, design and construction or inadequate operation and maintenance and water quality control, has been linked to a significant proportion of the burden of waterborne and water-related illness.

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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).