Amid global conditions in which approximately 783 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion do not have access to even basic sanitation facilities, International Medical Corps works to build water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) components into our programs that meet this most basic of human needs, including:
- targeting 22,000 internally displaced people and an additional 29,000 locals in Somalia who urgently need improved access to water by providing safe WASH services for vulnerable populations living in insecure and volatile areas of Mogadishu and Abudwak District.
- providing 35 new and/or rehabilitated water points within the districts of Iriba and Am Dam in Eastern Chad as part of an integrated nutrition and WASH project benefitting over 65,000 individuals in Chad.
- working in the water-scarce zones of Wolayita and West Arsi in Ethiopia to provide 16,500 individuals with access to rehabilitated boreholes, protected springs and shallow wells, as well as over 66,000 individuals with essential supplies to help them collect and store their water safely.
- improving access to clean water for nearly 45,000 people in the remote, dry, northern district of Samburu, Kenya through a variety of activities such as establishing village water committees to manage and maintain wells, providing community water and hygiene education for family and schools, and rehabilitating damaged wells and water points.
Without clean water and sanitation, public health cannot be achieved. Globally, one in five child deaths is due to diarrhea. Further, half the hospital beds in developing countries are occupied by people with WASH-related diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, eye and skin infections, malaria, cholera, and typhoid—adding an extra burden to limited health care delivery services.
As part of our comprehensive approach to health, International Medical Corps prioritizes access to equitable, reliable and clean water, the provision and improvement of sanitation facilities and the promotion of safe hygiene practices. Our WASH work focuses on strengthening health care service delivery at the facility level by establishing safe water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services. We also integrate hygiene promotion— widely recognized as the more cost-effective intervention in the water and sanitation sector—into all of our WASH projects in order to enable communities to better protect themselves from the threat of infectious diseases. Throughout all of our programs, we actively engage communities and relevant authorities in the development and implementation of sustainable WASH interventions.