Seven million Filipinos in urban areas have no access to basic hand-washing facilities, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which increases their risk of Covid19 infection.
UNICEF said that washing one’s hands with soap and water is critical in the fight against coronavirus infection, as soap destroys the virus’ outer membrane, thus inactivating it. They also cited a study that found regular hand-washing lowers the chances of infection by 36%.
The organization also reported—among other statistics—that 40% of the world’s population (approximately 3 billion people) does not have hand-washing facilities in their homes, while 43% of schools worldwide also lack these same facilities, endangering hundreds of millions of school-going children.
During the launch of the Hand Hygiene For All initiative last June, UNICEF and the World Health Organization noted that about three quarters those lacking soap and water live in the poorest countries in the world, compromising the health of 1 billion people.
Associate director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Kelly Ann Taylor said that this situation was “unacceptable,” and added: “We must take immediate action to make hand-washing with soap accessible to everyone, everywhere—now and in the future.”