COVID-19 pandemic: Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as a critical control measure remains a major challenge in low-income countries

Donde, O.O., Atoni, E., Muia, A.W., & Yillia, P. (2021). COVID-19 pandemic: Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as a critical control measure remains a major challenge in low-income countries. Water Research 191 e116793. 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116793.

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Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the deadly respiratory disease called coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19), an ongoing global public health emergency that has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. We review literature on the transmission and control of SARS-CoV-2 and discuss the challenges of focusing on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) as critical control measures in low-income countries. A significantly higher prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 related deaths has been reported for the United States of America and other high-income countries in Europe and Asia, regardless of advanced medical facilities in those countries. In contrast, much lower COVID-19 related morbidity and mortality rates have been documented in many low-income countries, despite having comparatively higher socioeconomic burdens and suboptimal medical facilities. By September 29, 2020 over one million deaths have been reported. On the same day, the cumulative total of COVID-19 related morbidity for Africa was 35,954 with 3.5% of the global COVID-19 related deaths. We present arguments for the relatively low COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates in many low-income countries and discuss the critical importance of WASH for preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. We observe that the key recommendations put forward by the World Health Organization to effectively control the pandemic have been difficult to implement in low-income countries. We conclude that the pandemic reinforces previous pronouncements that adequate and effective WASH measures are crucial for public health and recommend closer coordination between public health and WASH sectors.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19; Low-income countries; SARS-CoV-2; WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
Research Programs: Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Water Security (WAT)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2021 08:27
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2023 03:00

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