Water sanitation and hygiene for accelerating and sustaining progress on neglected tropical diseases: a global strategy 2015-2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a global plan to better integrate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with four other public health interventions to accelerate progress in eliminating and eradicating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) by 2020. Millions suffer from devastating WASH-related neglected tropical diseases – such as soil-transmitted helminthiasis, guinea-worm disease, trachoma and schistosomiasis – all of which affect mainly children. Solutions exist, such as access to safe water, managing human excreta, improving hygiene, and enhancing targeted environmental management. Such improvements not only lead to improved health, but also reduce poverty. Targeted water and sanitation interventions are expected to bolster ongoing efforts in tackling 16 out of the 17 NTDs, which affect more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. A recent report showed that in 2015 more than 660 million people did not have access to improved water sources.