© WaterAid/Prashanth Vishwanathan

Canada must be a leader on clean water and hygiene

Without access to clean water

Globally, one in six healthcare facilities do not have soap and water readily available for handwashing.

When those on the front lines — midwives, nurses, doctors — don’t have access to hygiene essentials like water and soap, it is incredibly difficult to keep themselves and their patients safe.

Tragically, this is not a problem unique to healthcare settings: 40% of people globally don’t have access to basic handwashing facilities at home.

Without access to clean water, poor hygiene can spread illness quickly making children and primary caregivers — often women and girls — sick, and putting entire communities at risk. In fact, preventing the spread of COVID-19 is almost impossible without clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.

Stopping the spread of COVID-19

With a second wave of COVID-19 spreading around the world, regular and thorough handwashing with soap and clean water is the first line of defense in preventing further spread — and protecting everyone, everywhere from disease.

As the world waits for a vaccine, handwashing with soap and clean water continue to be the most cost-effective investments in public health.

The solution is simple: when communities, schools and hospitals have access to soap and clean water, they dramatically reduce the spread of the disease.

Now, more than ever, access to clean water and good hygiene, for everyone — everywhere — must be a top priority. Because no one is safe until everyone is safe.

Canada needs to show leadership

Like many developed countries, Canada has played a key role in international COVID-19 emergency response and has invested heavily in finding a new vaccine and related treatments.

But during this busy time, Canada has neglected its international commitments — in particular, its international aid investment in life-saving projects around water and hygiene.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique moment for Canada to focus attention and action on the critical importance of hygiene as a ‘no regrets’ investment for global health.

Now is the time for Canada to show leadership on the world stage by investing urgently in water and hygiene around the world.

Take action right now!

Right now, WaterAid Canada is working in over 30 countries through projects that best educate communities about the threat of COVID-19 and install handwashing systems as fast as we can.

At WaterAid Canada, we include hygiene in everything we do because we believe the simple act of handwashing can create healthier, more resilient communities.

Help us call on Canada’s Minister of International Development Karina Gould to commit to a ‘no regrets’ investment in water and hygiene access globally to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 — and support countries to build resilient communities and economies.

WaterAid Canada won’t stop working until access to clean water and hygiene is normal for everyone, everywhere. Please join us today.