World Water Day Provides Occasion to Consider Connections Between Maternal Health and WASH

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By: Sarah Blake, MHTF consultant

Today, March 22 is World Water Day, an annual UN event that seeks to draw attention to the persistent challenges related to securing clean water for people around the world. As the guest blog series coordinated by WASH Advocates earlier this month makes clear, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues are integral to the health, rights and general well-being of women and girls around the world, including maternal health.  WASH issues connect to maternal health in ways that are both direct and immediate and indirect and far-ranging: clean water and sanitation are fundamental for the safety of mothers and infants during and just after childbirth, but these issues are just as important for ensuring that girls can go to school, women can work, and families everywhere can ensure the health and safety of their children.

Given the intricate links between WASH and other issues – including maternal health – it is fitting that this year’s World Water Day theme is “cooperation.” After all, recognizing these connections only serves to underscore the importance of working together across what might otherwise appear to be wholly separate issues. As an article published today in The Huffington Post points out, issues related to water are often so much more: they are also women’s issues, child health issues, sanitation issues and education issues, to name just a few.

For more on these connections, visit WASH Advocates’ interactive poster on WASH and maternal, newborn and child health. For more on World Water Day, visit The Huffington Post water page, WaterAids’s “Women and WaterAid” or UN Water.