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Study Report on WASH in Health Care Facilities (HCFs) in Bangladesh

SNV is implementing an Urban Sanitation intervention in southern Bangladesh over the past six years, through a multi-stakeholder’s coordination mechanism under the leadership of Local Government Authorities. Following our city-wide and inclusive approach, we aim to reach an effective access to sanitation for all, particularly the most vulnerable, ensuring safe environmental and public health, as a trigger for economic development. Access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is a pre-condition to reach in quality health services for all, which strongly link SDGs 3 and 6.

For this reason, SNV conducted a study on WASH in Health Care Facilities (HCFs) in Bangladesh to understand the current situation and define the areas of contribution. The research comprises, from one side, a policy and legal review to identify the existing documentation, gaps and practices; and also a stakeholders’ mapping to assess the roles of the relevant authorities and partners which need to be targeted for sensitisation and advocacy. On the other side, the study included a census survey of the HCFs in our six working areas, Khulna and Gazipur City Corporations, and Kushtia, Jhenaidah, Jashore and Benapole Paurashavas. The findings were validated in city specific workshops in the cities, along with a national level workshop under the backdrop of the Directorate General of health Services (DGHS) and in participation of relevant stakeholders.

More than ever, we see the bonding link between hygiene and health during outbreaks, in particular during this severe COVID-19 emergency that is affecting Bangladesh and the entire world. Poor WASH facilities and weak infection prevention and control (IPC) protocols lead to health acquired infections, transmission of diseases from health facilities to communities. The survey on the HCFs found critical improvements required in access to sanitation facilities, handwashing with soap, particularly at point of care, Menstrual Hygiene Management, management of medical waste and regular emptying of the on-site systems.

This study can bring some light and ways forward for the Government of Bangladesh and the stakeholders, who are already working on improving the conditions of our Healthcare facilities in the country. SNV stands ready to work closely with the health sector authorities to ensure safe WASH facilities for all.