According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 663 million people do not have access to ‘improved water sources’ (piped clean water to home or yard, public standpipe, borehole, protected well or spring, rainwater collection).

Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH)


By: Rebecca Collette


This new well will provide clean water to 10,000 people in DR Congo. It was funded by the Leprosy Mission Hungary, as part of a project that you also support. Photo courtesy of TLM Congo.

Access to clean water. It seems basic. For *many of us in Canada, access to clean water, flushing toilets, and a sink that dispenses both hot and cold water are given. Now that our national hobby is hand hygiene, thanks to the COVID-19 virus, we are putting more energy and attention into washing our hands several times a day. For many people in the world, running water is a luxury to dream about.

For them, handwashing could be a dangerous activity– unclean water increases exposure to harmful bacteria and parasites that can create tragic consequences. In areas where clean running water is available, the water has to be retrieved from somewhere - A a time-consuming chore, usually reserved for women and girls. This prevents them from working or going to school.

Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) thrive in areas that lack basic sanitation and clean water. Many of the 1 billion people affected by these life-limiting diseases live in such places. WASH is the first course of action to prevent and control NTDs. Access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene can disrupt the transmission of NTDs like soil-transmitted helminthiasis, including guinea worm (and NTD that you help to prevent in Kenya).

WASH is an acronym used in Global Health to talk about access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene. WASH is also critical wound care and disability prevention and management for other NTDs, such as leprosy, lymphatic filariasis and Buruli ulcer.

About 2.4 billion people do not have adequate sanitation facilities– that’s 1 in 3 people worldwide (WHO).

Clean water and safe sanitation are the bedrock of a healthy and dignified life. Yet, billions live in polluted areas, without access to clean water, toilets, waste treatment and disposal. That is why we dedicate time and effort in our work to support the development of community water and sanitation hygiene practices. 

This Christmas, you can provide WASH training and supplies for those who need it. Your gift provides access to safe water, good hygiene programs, and protection from diseases for the people affected by NTDs.

*We acknowledge that there are many communities across Canada, especially Indigenous communities in Canada’s rural and remote areas, that do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. While our work is to correct injustices overseas, we note that these communities at home also face inequity and injustice.

You helped to provide soap to this community to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

WASH Training & Supplies

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Clean water and a hygiene program is critical to improving the health of patients suffering from leprosy and other diseases of poverty. When you invest in WASH (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene), you invest in life itself. Your gift provides access to safe water, good hygiene programs, and protection from diseases for the people we serve, their children and families.