Humanity knows the biggest threat to human life is the lack of water. Everyone assumes a war or natural disasters will be the cause for thousands of deaths in a short space of time…however, the truth is that it’s an invisible deadly virus that spreads silently within a community. As nations gear up to fight it, the echoing consensus for prevention is frequent hand-washing and good hygiene. Access to clean water is vital in combating Covid-19. The Coronavirus travels through people who are in constant contact with each other. This is evident from how it rapidly travelled from China to every corner of the world in such a short timeframe. Droplets containing the coronavirus could be passed between passengers in taxi or other high traffic public spaces and via high touch surfaces like door handles, tables etc.
Though the answer ‘washing your hands as frequently as possible” seems simple to most, it can be quite the struggle for many. According to Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF Director of Programmes “Handwashing with soap is one of the cheapest, most effective things you can do to protect yourself and others against coronavirus, as well as many other infectious diseases. Yet for billions, even this most basic of steps is simply out of reach.”
Eswatini is doing its part in combating the virus however, this global health crisis is exposing pre-existing weaknesses in the current public health system. In numerous parts of Eswatini; children, parents, teachers, healthcare workers and other members of the community do not have access to basic handwashing facilities at home, in healthcare facilities, schools etc. For many communities, water sources are usually far from their homes. This unfortunate reality leaves scores of Swazi’s vulnerable to contracting and spreading the virus.
Water is sometimes taken for granted until it either isn’t there or when required to prevent a deadly virus. Pandemic aside, clean water access for all is a basic human right and it is hoped that this crisis will ensure many countries prioritise clean water initiatives. Until then, stay safe and wash your hands when you can. For more information about Covid-19, visit the official website of the World Health Organisation.