Health Life News

Mothers and newborns dying from unsafe water & poor sanitation & hygiene

By Sasha Pei-Silovo – EM TV Online

Clean water and good hygiene is important during childbirth, however, developing nations around the world continue to lack basic water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and services.

Leading global health experts have revealed through a report that mothers and their newborn babies are dying unnecessarily due to the lack of safe water, poor hygiene and sanitation whilst giving birth.

The health experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO), charity WaterAid, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and other global health organisations published their findings in a report in the PLOS One scientific journal.

They’re calling on world governments and agencies to see the importance of the ‘link’ between saving lives and sanitation and have warned that the lack of basic facilities and services are damaging the efforts to improve the health of newborn babies and mothers.

While the gravity of hygiene practices, such as washing hands, is recognised in some places, there is less value being put on the significance of having the ‘entire package’ of safe, clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

Proper sanitation practises – waste disposal facilities and toilets, are ignored and the successof ‘other interventions’ in the areas of safe water, sanitation and hygiene are being hampered because of the lack of safe and proper waste disposal methods.

The report highlighted that up to 40 per cent of health facilities in 54 developing or low-income nations studied, did not have clean, safe and reliable water supply.

Yael Velleman of WaterAid said that today, tens of thousands of mothers will be giving birth in places where midwives and doctors (if present) had zero access to clean water.

“The process of giving life should not mean unduly risking death.

“As governments work to help women and their babies survive childbirth, they must not neglect these basic building blocks of health care,” Velleman stated.

The lack of basic services continues to hamper numerous efforts made to improve ‘newborn health focus on specific measures’, the report suggests.  

“Our hope is these findings will guide future work on UN development goals and make the provision of these services a priority, when trying to improve the health of new mothers and their babies,” said Lenka Benova, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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