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  • UNICEF estimates that about 20 percent of India's living in urban areas lacks handwashing.

    UNICEF estimates that about 20 percent of India's living in urban areas lacks handwashing. | Photo: EFE/EPA/ Jagadeesh

Published 16 October 2020
Opinion

The UNICEF estimates that 40 percent of the world's population, about 3 billion people, don't have access to handwashing with water and soap at home, while at the beginning of the pandemic 47 percent of schools also lacked handwashing infrastructure. 
 

The United Nations Children Fund warned on Thursday about a worldwide lack of facilities for handwashing with soap, which is critical to face the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for children as many countries have resumed the scholar year.

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UNICEF estimates that 40 percent of the world's population, about 3 billion people, don't have access to handwashing with water and soap at home. In contrast, at the beginning of the pandemic, 47 percent of schools also lacked handwashing infrastructure.

"Even before the pandemic, this lack of access already affected the most disadvantaged people," UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore explained as Thursday marked the Global Handwashing Day.

"This includes the world's poorest people, many of whom live in overcrowded and impoverished communities. And it includes refugees and children of emergencies living in camps and shelters," the official added.

UNICEF, alongside international partners, urged governments to prioritize hygiene infrastructure, which is critical to diminish the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected area at a regional level, with 63 percent of residents in urban areas, about 258 million people, that lack access to handwashing. Furthermore, in Asia, it is estimated that almost 50 percent of urban Bangladeshis, 20 percent of urban Indians, and 28 percent of urban Indonesians also lack this vital hygiene facility.

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