Kate Holt/Jhpiego

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Handwashing is the single most cost-effective intervention to prevent pneumonia and diarrhea in children, and reduces infections in mothers and children during pregnancy and childbirth. Both A Promise Renewed and the Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) list handwashing and other hygiene behaviors as core interventions for protecting children from these leading causes of death.

MCSP supports countries to make WASH a normative part of maternal, newborn and child health. At all levels of care, the Program aims to prepare for a clean and healthy birthing and newborn experience, reduce infections to mothers and newborns during the peri- and postnatal periods, to limit health care associated infections contracted during the process of care, and to reduce stunting and diarrheal disease in children.

The WASH program works across a variety of MCSP teams and themes: Maternal, Newborn Health, Child Health, Health Systems Strengthening, and Quality. We develop and utilize nontraditional messaging models that reflect country-specific behaviors and social norms, and employ counseling, demonstration and practice at all stages of the maternal, newborn and child health continuum of care. Examples of this include: instructions on the construction of handwashing stations, such as tippy taps; development of handwashing corners; and household-level demonstrations of water treatment, safe water storage, and treatment methods.

In addition, MCSP is working to change behaviors and integrate WASH into facility-based care, addressing gender-related barriers and giving specific attention to the role of men in maternal, newborn and child health.

To download MCSP’s WASH fact sheet, click here.

Key Results


  • Through our Clean Clinic Approach, MCSP strengthens health systems and improves quality of care by working with health care facilities to establish WASH goals and make incremental improvements towards the end goal of achieving a “clean clinic” status, as defined with the national Ministry of Health.
  • Our maternal health work seeks opportunities to support mothers, influencers, community workers, and clinic-level health care providers to ensure clean and safe conditions during delivery and appropriate counseling following birth.
  • In the area of newborn care, we focus primarily on reducing infection on the day of birth and during the first month of life through effective cord care and improved handwashing by those coming in close contact with newborns.
  • To support child health, we work to reduce stunting in children under two years of age and prevent diarrheal disease in children under five by integrating the essential hygiene actions into promotion and counseling efforts led by other technical sectors, most notably nutrition.
Maternal Child Survival Program
Maternal and Child Survival Program