Abstract Ref Number = APCP94
Pediatric Essentials for Young Pediatricians in Limited-care Settings
Improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Better Children's Health
European Young Pediatrician Association EURYPA
A Fundamental Human Right
Water is essential to sustain life, and a satisfactory (adequate, safe and accessible) supply must
be available to all. Improving access to safe drinking-water can result in perceptible benefits to
health. Every effort should be made to achieve drinking-water that is as safe as practicable.
Safe drinking-water does not represent any significant risk to health over a lifetime of
consumption. Those at greatest risk of waterborne disease are infants and young children
especially when living under unsanitary conditions. Those who are generally at risk of
waterborne illness may need to take additional steps to protect themselves against exposure to
waterborne pathogens, such as boiling their drinking-water. Safe drinking-water is required for
all usual domestic purposes, including drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene.
Diseases related to contamination of drinking-water constitute a major burden on human
health. Interventions to improve the quality of drinking-water provide significant benefits to
Crucial Topic: But Are We Aware of?
Billions of people still lack safe water, sanitation and hand washing facilities. There are 844
million people who lack basic water services, 2.1 billion lack safely managed drinking water, 4.5
billion lack access to safely managed sanitation and 892 million still practice open defecation.
Only 27 per cent of the population in least developed countries has access to soap and water
for hand washing on premises.
Nowadays water pollution is also a perturbational topic which rise in importance that affecting
the quality and safety of water.
Poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and suboptimal nutrition are important risk factors
for morbidity and mortality in children less than 5 years of age. The health implications of
inadequate access to a safe water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) negatively affect
billions of people around the globe. More than a quarter of the world's population – 2.4 billion
people – live without adequate sanitation, and 664 million lack access to safe drinking water. The
poor access to water supply is a prevalent issue in over 850 million people worldwide with over
2.5 billion limited by access to sanitation facilities.
The Most Critical Age Group: Children (Especially <5 years of age)
Children, probably the most sensitive because of their critical windows of development
especially on the first ages of life. Diarrheal diseases is the major public health problem due to
the lack of sanitation, hygiene or access to safe-drinking water and to emphasis on; diarrhoeal
disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, and is responsible
for killing around 525 000 children every year. Diarrhoea can last several days, and can leave the
body without the water and salts that are necessary for survival. A significant proportion of
diarrhoeal disease can be prevented through safe drinking-water and adequate sanitation and
Even when not fatal, chronic diarrhea during early childhood can have long-lasting adverse
health effects, as it impedes the uptake of necessary nutrients, thereby hindering the
development of children's minds, bodies, and immune systems. Hand washing, improved
sanitation, and improvements in household water quality have been shown to significantly
reduce the risk of diarrhea.
WASH typically refers to activities aimed at improving access to and use of safe drinking-water
and sanitation as well as promoting good hygiene practices.
W: Water quantity and quality, S: Sanitation H: Hygiene.
Inadequate WASH services and practices are a major concern in households worldwide. Lack of
access to WASH can affect a child’s nutritional status. The key steps are very important to provide
both water safety and healthy environment.
Diarrhoeal diseases are characteristically transmitted via the faecal-oral route. Poor WASH
increases an individual’s exposure to faecal pathogens through multiple pathways. It has been
estimated that in 2012 a total of 842,000 diarrhoea deaths were caused by inadequate WASH
(502,000 from water, 280,000 from sanitation and 297,000 from hand hygiene). This represents
over half of diarrhoeal diseases, or an estimated 1.5% of the total disease burden. The most
recent estimate suggests that adequate WASH could prevent the deaths of 361,000 children
under the age of five, or 5.5% of deaths in that age group.
There is many direct an indirect positive outcomes like reduction in diarrhoeal disease,
childhood undernutrition as a result of improvements in WASH. We can easily say that WASH
interventions act upon interlinked transmission pathways, and often cannot be provided in
isolation from each other.
Actions To Be Taken: For Better Children’s Health
In all its parts, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is a vital topic for children’s health in every
sense. With the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO), The United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF) and also in locally with the great support of regional health authorities
there have been such projects have been done and are continuing to be done. Such as Water
Safety Planning (WSP), Sanitation Safety Planning (SSP), Water and Sanitation for Health Facility
Improvement Tool (WASH FIT) and etc.
There are many guidelines are published by different institutions, especially WHO and UNICEF
have been preparing many guidelines and reports. Our aim at this session is to sum up all of
these and to come to main conclusions;
- To raise the awareness and provide the understanding of how important is this topic,
especially among the healthcare professionals
- To encourage to take the initiative to do something for better children’s health