Provides evidence-based guidance and tools for strengthening the capacity of national health systems and water sectors to ensure water quality and to prevent, control and reduce water-related disease
Easy access to adequate sanitation and sufficient amounts of safe water for drinking and hygiene at home, schools and healthcare facilities is essential to human health and well-being and should be a prerequisite for a decent life in the 21st century.
Diseases related to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) include diarrhoea, but also other disease outcomes, such as hepatitis A, legionellosis and soil-transmitted helminth infections. In the Region, 14 diarrhoea deaths a day can be attributed to inadequate WaSH. Infants and children under 5 years of age are particularly vulnerable to diarrhoea as a leading cause of malnutrition and death.
To tackle the prevailing challenges and to close the gap in attaining equitable access to safely managed drinking-water and sanitation services for all people in the Region, the European Union
• Supports the implementation of the Protocol on Water and Health – the primary policy instrument in the WHO European Region in the water, sanitation and health domain;
• Provides evidence-based guidance and tools for strengthening the capacity of national health systems and water sectors to ensure water quality and to prevent, control and reduce water-related disease;
• Promotes risk-based management and surveillance approaches in policy and practice, including water safety plans and sanitation safety plans;
• Facilitates capacity building in accordance with WHO guidelines;
The Commission increasingly supports projects which incorporate WASH components within other sectors, such as nutrition or shelter, in order to increase effectiveness. It also places special emphasis on enabling endangered populations to have quick access to water, sanitation and hygiene services, helping to build up their resilience against crises and taking preventive action against water-borne diseases. Water supply projects, wherever possible, are integrated with sanitation and hygiene promotion actions in order to reduce the risk of water contamination and disease and to ensure that projects are community-led and self-sufficient. The Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) draws its expertise in this sector of assistance from a network of seven regional and global WASH and shelter experts, its country experts as well as its NGO, UN and Red Cross partners. ECHO provides support to the Global WASH Cluster - the main international forum, led by UNICEF, for coordinating humanitarian operations in water, sanitation and hygiene assistance.
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