Hygiene and health - a matter of life and death
Diseases associated with poor sanitation and unsafe water accounted for about 10 percent of the global burden of disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). As many as 1.7 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases and, of these, 90 percent are children under the age of five, living predominantly in developing countries.
In addition to small children, the most vulnerable members of society are women. Researchers from, among others, WaterAid, UNICEF and WHO put the number of women that die from childbirth complications each year as high as 289,000 globally. In their collaborative paper, From Joint Thinking to Joint Action: A Call to Action on Improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Maternal and Newborn Health (PLOS Medicine, 2014), they argue that despite improvements in healthcare, new mothers and newborns are still dying because a reliable supply of safe water, good hygiene practice and adequate toilets are often not present.
As many as 1.7 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases and, of these, 90 percent are children under the age of five.The World Health Organization
The value of good hygiene is not restricted to basic facilities, or developing countries. Several scientific studies show the value of good hand hygiene in reducing the number of hospital acquired infections, such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics), which is also a significant problem in modern healthcare is one word systems. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 722,000 cases of hospital-acquired infections in the country in 2011. Of these, 75,000 patients died.