Clean water, safe sanitation, and good hygiene are critical for preventing and controlling infectious diseases. USAID supports local governments and stakeholders to strengthen access to sustainable water and sanitation within households and communities as well as at health care facilities and schools.
Clean water, safe sanitation, and good hygiene are critical for preventing and controlling infectious diseases. Currently, 2.1 billion people around the world live without access to safe drinking water, and approximately 4.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. Families and communities lacking a safe water supply and basic sanitation are often confronted by illness, lost income, and malnourishment. Further, the global climate crisis directly threatens the water security of countries, and heightens existing challenges in managing water resources. USAID works to improve access to safe and sustainable water and sanitation services, and promote innovative approaches to enabling hygiene behavior change to prevent water-borne disease.
Basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services within healthcare facilities are the cornerstone of quality, equitable, and respectful care. In many countries, poor WASH conditions in health facilities expose pregnant women and newborns to illness and infection, discourage families from seeking lifesaving care, and force health workers to deliver services in unsafe and unpleasant working environments. USAID’s water and sanitation programs support locally led initiatives that enable health care facilities to access clean and reliable water to ensure safe and sanitary conditions for women, children, and families seeking care.
Our Approach and Results
USAID’s investments in improving WASH saves lives by:
- Increasing access to clean and reliable water in health care facilities to ensure safe and sanitary conditions for women, children, and families seeking care.
- Supporting partner countries plan, finance, and deliver safe water and sanitation services for women, children, and families, while sustainably managing water resources.
- Promoting healthy behaviors to prevent infection and illness including handwashing with soap at critical times.
- Strengthening WASH governance through improved policy, planning, monitoring, and institutional capacity building.
Over the last ten years, USAID has supported 21 million people to gain access to basic drinking water.
Where We Work
USAID has 22 high-priority WASH countries. These countries are the primary focus of the U.S. government’s investments to build a more water-secure world amid ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and conflict. There is significant overlap between these countries and USAID’s maternal and child survival partner countries.