This discussion paper explores why Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) must be included in a comprehensive definition of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and how this can be done. It demonstrates the way in which UHC can improve WASH conditions and the positive impact this can have on health outcomes.
- WASH underpins human health and must be considered as a key aspect of UHC; failure to do so will result in poor progress on public health targets, as well as an undue financial burden on health systems.
- Health and WASH are intrinsically related and must be recognized as both preconditions for and outcomes of sustainable development.
- To attain UHC, we must ensure health services are available, accessible, acceptable, affordable, and of quality.
- Government responsibility for sanitation is often fragmented among various ministries and agencies, leading to a lack of accountability, under-prioritization, and under-resourcing.
- A broad, multi-sectoral approach is needed to realize the right to health. The health system has a leading role to play in ensuring policy coherence as well as leading cross-sectoral action on WASH as an inseparable part of its overall efforts to improve population health.