Integral to this is frequent handwashing and good hygiene practice but it requires sufficient access to clean water supply and proper sanitation facilities.
Therefore, investment in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) should be prioritized to ensure healthy livelihood and sustainable progress amid the challenges inflicted by the pandemic at this time.
In Papua New Guinea (PNG), access to improved water supply and sanitation for majority of people in urban and rural areas has been a long-standing issue. The impact of such poor access to critical WaSH services on public health is very alarming. This does expose many people to ominous risk of COVID-19.
The Spotlight article: Investing in water, sanitation and hygiene in Papua New Guinea: Call for renewed focus and priority Volume 14, Issue 18 by PNG National Research Institute Research Fellow, Ronald Sofe, highlights that investments in WaSH services are important for improving health, environmental, and socio-economic outcomes for individuals and communities.
Sofe said, “WaSH services are indispensable to livelihood. Investing in WaSH services are critical in improving health, environmental, and socio-economic outcomes for individuals and communities. It calls for renewed focus from all stakeholders and levels of government to embrace innovative interventions that would facilitate improvement in delivery of water supply, safe sanitation facilities and decent hygiene practices.”
“There is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive investment plan for rehabilitation of existing infrastructure to boost capacity for the delivery of WaSH services throughout the country,” said Sofe.
Sofe reiterated that the capacity of provincial, district, and local level governments to plan and manage WaSH projects needs to be boosted. State utility and partners will need to develop viable operating model in close collaboration with provincial and district administrations to extend WaSH services, particularly in rural areas.
Equally, there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive investment plan for rehabilitation of existing infrastructure to boost capacity to deliver WaSH services. This will include attracting private sector support through utilisation of tax credit schemes and corporate social responsibility.