Hygiene has long-established links with public health, but was not included in any MDG targets or indicators. The explicit reference to hygiene in the text of SDG target 6.2 represents increasing recognition of the importance of hygiene and its close links with sanitation. Hygiene is multi-faceted and can comprise many behaviours, including handwashing, menstrual hygiene and food hygiene. International consultations among WASH sector professionals identified handwashing with soap and water as a top priority in all settings, and also as a suitable indicator for national and global monitoring.
The presence of a handwashing facility with soap and water on premises has been identified as the priority indicator for global monitoring of hygiene. Households that have a handwashing facility with soap and water available on premises will meet the criteria for a basic hygiene facility.
There were not enough data to make a global estimate of the population with handwashing facilities in 2015, but the available data did show that in sub-Saharan Africa, only 15% of the population had access to a basic handwashing facility with soap and water.