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Global Health Programs: Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Program


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) global WASH program provides expertise and interventions aimed at saving lives and reducing illness through global access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene. The WASH program’s long-term prevention and control measures reduce the severe impact of WASH-related diseases by improving health, reducing poverty, and increasing economic development.

Program Description

CDC’s WASH program works with partners in every WHO region and focuses on:

Where We Work

  • Afghanistan
  • Angola
  • Bangladesh
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burma
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Colombia
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Ethiopia
  • Ghana
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Laos
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • St. Lucia
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Making Water Safe to Drink: Promoting safe water through CDC’s Safe Water System (SWS) and development and implementation of Water Safety Plans (WSPs).
  • Improving Hygiene and Sanitation to Prevent the Spread of Disease: Improving the efficacy, sustainability, and integration of hygiene and sanitation interventions.
  • Responding to International Emergencies and Outbreaks: Deploying emergency response and outbreak investigation teams at the request of foreign governments.
  • Controlling and Eliminating Disease: Identifying WASH-related factors needed to control or eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) like Guinea worm disease.
  • Identifying and Characterizing Disease: Investigating the agents and causes of illness, such as diarrhea, to provide critical health data for decision making.
  • Training and Educating about Global WASH: Developing model programs and materials for public health staff training and community health promotion.

Public Health Impact

  • 25 countries treated over 60 billion liters of water – enough to meet the annual needs of eight million families and prevent 2.7 million diarrheal episodes – using SWS programs.
  • A 25% decrease in childhood diarrhea was shown in a multi-year evaluation of the long-term sustainability of WASH interventions in four Central American countries.
  • Improved access to safe water and adequate sanitation in UNHCR refugee camps in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda following WASH assessments.
  • 50% fewer diarrheal and respiratory infections were shown in children receiving weekly handwashing promotion and soap versus children not receiving interventions.
  • Multilingual community health worker training materials were created and used across Haiti in response to the cholera epidemic.

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  • Page last reviewed: April 18, 2011
  • Page last updated: April 18, 2011
  • Content source:

    Global Health
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