The dialogue gathers representatives from the UN system, public and private sector, and civil society to discuss actions to make progress on the SDGs. This year especially in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we enter this Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs, it is critical to understand: What actions on global hygiene and health need to be accelerated? A key input to this is provided by the Hygiene and Health report.
The report aims to bring much needed insights, evidence and solutions to the societal and political debate, in order to accelerate action on improving hygiene and health standards and practices around the world. It builds on a biennial global survey, conducted by Essity, with over 15,000 respondents worldwide in 15 countries. This year, an additional survey was conducted in July 2020 reflecting the effects of COVID-19 on hygiene and health. The survey reveals a high demand to improve hygiene and health worldwide. The respondents point out increased funding for healthcare sector (28%), raised global standards on hygiene and health (27%) and education on proper hygiene practices (18%) as the most sought-after measures to policy makers.
“Essity has valuable experience to respond to the challenges of pandemics and other health and hygiene related challenges, both in the short and long term. I strongly believe that we here at the Global Dialogue today, representing both the private and public sector, have a role to play in improving hygiene and health worldwide. We have the knowledge and solutions for this and need to work together for a sustainable recovery and accelerated action on the SDG’s,” says Magnus Groth, President and CEO of Essity.
In the report, findings and cases underline the importance of basic hygiene and good health for all, particularly to avoid infections such as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and COVID-19. Research and testimonials also highlight how important it is to continue break barriers on social norms surrounding menstruation and incontinence. Moreover, it stresses the importance of a person-centered approach and underlines the opportunities that innovation and digitalization brings, in order to ensure that large groups of people can participate fully in society.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call to re-focus on what is essential for preventive health. The pandemic has underlined the importance of the fundamental practices learned since childhood, such as handwashing with soap, in promoting basic hygiene to combat infections all around the world.” says Sue Coates, Executive Director a.i. at WSSCC. “With one in five health care facilities lacking access to basic sanitation services and one in two people lacking access to safely managed sanitation services, we believe now is the time to act.”
To deliver at the scale required to achieve sanitation, hygiene and menstrual health, WSSCC is announcing later this month, that it is transforming into the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund (SHF).
“We are pleased to collaborate with purpose-driven companies like Essity, which has put the Sustainable Development Goals at the core of its mission to raise hygiene and health standards, particularly at this critical time,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the UN Foundation.