Three billion people – 40 per cent of the world’s population – do not have a place in their homes to wash their hands with water and soap. Three quarters of those who lack access to water and soap live in the world’s poorest countries and are amongst the most vulnerable: children and families living in informal settlements, migrant and refugee camps, or in areas of active conflict. This puts an estimated 1 billion people at immediate risk of COVID-19 simply because they lack basic handwashing facilities.
To beat the virus today – and be better prepared for future pandemics – universal access to hand hygiene must become a reality for everyone, in all settings, especially in health care facilities, schools and crowded public spaces. This approach is reiterated in WHO’s recommendations on ensuring universal access to hand hygiene and improving hand hygiene practices to prevent COVID-19 transmission