Handwashing data to inform the COVID-19 response

WHO/UNICEF Joint Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Pre-COVID-19 Hygiene Baselines Regional Profiles

Washing hands frequently and properly with soap and water is critical to preventing diseases. Yet the latest global estimates find that 3 billion people lacked soap and water at home, 900 million children lacked soap and water at their school, and 40% of health care facilities were not equipped to practice hand hygiene at points of care. Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services for households, schools and healthcare facilities are essential to prevent the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19. The low levels of coverage of these basic services in many parts of the world reflect substantial inequalities between and within countries and contribute to the vulnerability of these populations to the pandemic.

These regional pre-COVID hygiene profiles provide an overview of the latest available data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme on basic hygiene services in households, schools and healthcare facilities. They provide a baseline for assessing the extent to which populations in each region have access to handwashing facilities with water and soap at home and at school, and water and soap or hand sanitizer at points of care and near the toilets at health care facilities.

Profiles are available for the following UNICEF programme regions:

 East Asia and the Pacific

  • 3 out of 10 households in East Asia and Pacific* do not have a dedicated place for washing hands with soap and water on premises
  • More than half of the schools in East Asia and the Pacific* do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • More than 6 out of 10 health care facilities in East Asia and Pacific have functional handwashing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer

 

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 Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  • We do not know how many people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia do not have a handwashing facility with soap and water on premises
  • We do not know how many schools in Eastern Europe and Central Asia do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • We do not know the proportion of health care facilities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia that have functional hand hygiene facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer

 

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Eastern and Southern Africa 

  • Only 24 percent of households in Eastern and Southern Africa have a dedicated place for washing hands with soap and water on premises
  • Only 20 percent of schools in Eastern and Southern Africa have hand washing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • We do not know the proportion of health care facilities in Eastern and Southern Africa that have functional handwashing facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer

 

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Latin America and the Caribbean 

  • We do not know how many people in Latin America and Caribbean do not have a handwashing facility with soap and water on premises
  • 2 out of 5 schools in Latin America and Caribbean do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • We do not know the proportion of health care facilities in Latin America and Caribbean that have functional hand hygiene facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer

 

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Middle East and North Africa 

  • 2 out of 10 households in the Middle East and North Africa region do not have a dedicated place for washing hands with soap and water on premises
  • Almost half of the schools in the Middle East and North Africa region do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • We do not know how many health care facilities in the Middle East and North Africa region have functional handwashing facilities with soap and water or hand

 

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South Asia 

  • 4 in 10 households in South Asia do not have handwashing facility with soap and water on premises
  • 5 in 10 schools in South Asia in do not have hand washing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • We do not know the proportion of health care facilities in South Asia that have functional hand hygiene facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer

 

 

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West and Central Africa 

  • Only 1 in 4 households in West and Central Africa have handwashing facilities with soap and water on premises
  • We do not know the proportion of schools in West and Central Africa that have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students
  • We do not know the proportion of health care facilities in West and Central Africa that have functional hand hygiene facilities with soap and water or hand sanitizer

 

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