Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene—collectively known as WASH—are essential for child health. They are foundational solutions to fighting diarrheal disease.  

Since 1990, more than 2 billion people have gained access to cleaner water, but more than 780 million people do not have safe water to drink. This gap results in hundreds of thousands of preventable illnesses, deaths, and lost opportunities every year – especially for women and girls.  

Two  billion people have no appropriate sanitation facilities or latrines, leading to serious health risks, including endemic diarrhea and waterborne disease outbreaks. 

Hand hygiene can break the transmission of diarrheal diseases. Routine handwashing with soap eliminates the bacteria and viruses that infect the body to cause diarrhea.  

WASH solutions should be sustainable, locally focused, and supported by policy and community education. Greater awareness can spur stronger investments to secure clean water and sanitation for all. 

Hygiene and helping hands graphic
Better WASH could prevent 300,000 child deaths from diarrhea each year graphic
A safe toilet in every home could generate US $86 million in wealth each year graphic

A community conquers climate impacts on safe water for home and health

State of the Field Report

Solutions for safe water and sanitation must be tailored to meet local needs. Education and behavior-change tactics are also important for sustainability. Policy and infrastructure are essential, and there are a range of point-of-use and household water treatment and storage solutions.