Giving poor hygiene the flush: Australia steps up efforts to improve water sanitation

 I am pleased to announce a new partnership between the Australian Government and the World Health Organisation.

This $5 million partnership will further embed water safety planning to deliver safe drinking water in the program’s four target countries: Bhutan, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. The program will assist those countries to prepare their own strategies to meet ambitious new global water quality benchmarks to improve people’s health and quality of life. The Partnership will also improve access to safe and sustainable WASH services in health care facilities leading to higher quality health care.

The new partnership builds on the previous WHO-DFAT Water Quality Partnership 2012 – 2017, which led to the implementation of water safety plans across 882 water systems in 15 countries, serving over 35 million people.

The partnership, along with existing efforts, will form part of the Australian Government’s contribution to tackling this significant global challenge. More than two billion people lack access to safe drinking water services and 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services.

The impact on children is particularly devastating, with nearly 1,000 children under five dying each day from diseases caused by poor sanitation, poor hygiene or unsafe drinking water.

Today, I will also open and deliver the keynote address at the fifth WASH Futures conference in Brisbane. This is the leading forum for experts and stakeholders from the Indo Pacific to share ideas and innovations while working towards universal access to WASH.

The conference will focus on collaboration in the sector. The Australian Government strongly believes collaboration and financial investment in the WASH sector saves and improves lives and contributes to stability, security and prosperity in our region.

Many of Australia’s achievements in the sector will be showcased during the conference. Our work in this area contributes to the World Health Organisation’s vision of quality care to every pregnant woman and newborn throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period.