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CDC at Work: Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Fact Sheets: CDC's Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Program Overview [PDF - 1 page]
CDC's Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Program Impact [PDF - 1 page]

Inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions exist in a range of settings, from temporary refugee camps to permanent homes in large cities.

CDC’s global WASH program provides expertise and interventions aimed at saving lives and reducing illness by improving global access to healthy and safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene. The WASH program works on long-term prevention and control measures for improving health, reducing poverty, and improving socio-economic development as well as responding to global emergencies and outbreaks of life-threatening illnesses. These improvements reduce the lethal impact of WASH-related diseases ranging from cholera to typhoid fever to hepatitis.

CDC’s global WASH work is focused in six areas and involves partnerships with other US government agencies, Ministries of Health, non-governmental agencies, and various international agencies.

Making Water Safe to Drink and Use

	Storage jars from CDCs Safe Water System program at a mosque in Niger

Photo courtesy of D. Lantagne

Promoting safe water through CDC’s Safe Water System (SWS), which allows individuals, health workers, and schoolteachers to treat and safely store water in homes, health facilities, and schools, and Water Safety Plans (WSPs), which identify water quality threats in community water systems and water utilities, while implementing solutions to those threats. 


Improving Hygiene and Sanitation

	Chinese school children washing their hands at an outdoor washing station.

Improving the efficacy, sustainability, and integration of hygiene and sanitation interventions into communities and institutions, such as schools. Visit the healthywater hygiene site to learn more about hygiene programs


Responding to Complex International Emergencies and Outbreaks

	People in front of their homes in a refugee camp.

Photo CDC Foundation

Deploying emergency response and outbreak investigation teams at the request of foreign governments and U.N. agencies. 



Controlling and Eliminating Disease

	Borehole well in Sierra Leone.

Photo courtesy of S. Roy

Identifying WASH-related factors needed to control or eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) like Guinea worm disease, trachoma, and intestinal worm infections, which impact hundreds of millions of people around the world.


Identifying and Characterizing Disease

	Epidemiologist tests a sample.

Photo CDC Foundation

Investigating the causes of illness, such as diarrhea, to provide critical health data for decision making. Additional links:

Educating and Training about Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

	Microbiologist trains workers.

Photo CDC Foundation

Developing model programs and materials for public health staff training and community health promotion.