WASH: Water, sanitation and hygiene

Ensuring a safe and clean community with adequate water and sanitation for every child



Pakistan has made significant progress in improving access to sanitation yet 25 million people still practice open defecation. Lack of access to proper sanitation facilities impacts negatively the health and wellbeing of children.

53,000 Pakistani children under five die annually from diarrhoea due to poor water and sanitation.

Children suffering from repeated episodes of diarrhoea are likely to fall behind in school or drop out altogether. Furthermore, it can also cause stunting that currently affects almost 44 percent of children in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s vulnerability to disasters including earthquakes, floods, droughts, and internal displacement due to conflict, often leaves hundreds of thousands of affected people in need of emergency water and sanitation support. Sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene in health centres and schools also remains a challenge especially for girls who lack adequate facilities to manage their menstruation. The effects of climate change and rapid urbanisation also contribute to challenges of improving access to safe water and sanitation.

An estimated 70 percent of households still drink bacterially contaminated water.

Asad Zaidi
Safe drinking water point Unicef constructed by UNICEF in Akber-Abad, Quetta district, Balochistan province, Pakistan.


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Ending open defecation

To end open defecation, communities must accept using toilets as regular habit in their lives. To eliminate open defecation by 2025, UNICEF and partners support the government to implement Pakistan’s Approach to Total Sanitation (PATS) in the country.

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Improving Quality of Water

UNICEF supports the government with frameworks to plan, prioritize, and budget for safe water services. The aim is to improve the quality of water supply and ensure access to safe drinking water to nine percent of the population deprived of it.

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WASH in Schools and Health Facilities

UNICEF believes in providing students with a healthy learning environment. It employs the globally successful Three Star Approach in schools to ensure healthy habits such as hand washing among students. UNICEF also supports WASH facilities in health structures to ensure the health of patients as well as reduce the spread of preventable diseases.

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WASH in Emergencies

UNICEF works alongside the government’s disaster management authorities to assist communities in preparing and coping with the effects of disasters on WASH facilities. In the advent of a natural disaster, diseases such as diarrhea and typhoid spread rapidly and access to WASH services becomes a critical lifesaving humanitarian intervention.

A social mobilizer conducts a Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) session with adolescent girls in Government Girls High School Shah-Noor, Quetta district, Baluchistan province, Pakistan.


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7thSouth Asian Conference on Sanitation (SACOSAN)

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