The African Development Bank (AfDB) has partnered with Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) in an initiative to expand access to water and sanitation, in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. The goal is to ensure that water and sanitation systems are available, mobilizing funds to support countries in need and deliver accurate and credible information.
According to Kevin Rudd, SWA’s High-leel Chair, Access to clean water and sanitation is absolutely crucial to slow the spread of COVID-19. “This is particularly important in countries with fragile healthcare systems or where social distancing is harder. The support from world leaders for this Call to Action is a strong demonstration of their support for the work of the United Nations’ partnership Sanitation and Water for All,” he said.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19
In preventing the spread of COVID-19, water, sanitation, hand hygiene, and social distancing, are paramount. COVID-19 virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets or contact. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), washing of hands with water and soap kills the virus. It also interrupts the transmission of other viruses and bacteria causing common colds, flu, and pneumonia, thus reducing the general burden of disease. But this can only be made possible when every individual has access to running water in sufficient quantities.
Over 400 million Africans lack access to safe water and nearly 800 million do not have access to basic hand washing facilities. This poses a huge challenge in the fight against COVID-19. However, global partners such as governments, donors, civil society organizations, and other development partners working to ensure that SWA’s goals are actualized.
According to the SWA statement COVID-19 is not the first and will not be the last epidemic that countries will face. It therefore urged African leaders to ensure this threat is not a missed opportunity to achieve the vision of universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.