What do girls and water have in common? As it turns out, a lot.
International Day of the Girl and Global Handwashing Day loomed large on our calendars this month. And while these two issues seemingly have little in common, they in fact share a key, common denominator: they predominantly affect girls.
In many areas where MCSP works, girls are disproportionately responsible for securing household drinking water. In homes where children manage this chore, girls are twice as likely as boys to do it. You can imagine the resulting loss of educational and work opportunities that arise. School absenteeism is an even greater problem for girls when they cannot manage their menstruation with dignity.
As girls age into adulthood, unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions and practices may also discourage them from seeking lifesaving care at health facilities. This includes during pregnancy, when they may choose to give birth at home rather than face unhygienic conditions.
To address these issues, MCSP launched WASH in Health Care Facilities: A Toolbox for Improving Quality of Care. This “one stop shop” consolidates the learning we’ve gained integrating WASH (including infection prevention and control) in support of quality of care improvements throughout Africa and the Caribbean.
We encourage you to explore the site’s videos, briefs and other resources – and then share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you!
Koki Agarwal, MD, MPH, DrPH