Researchers at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health know what they want the world to look like by 2030, and with a new study, they are providing the data to help countries get there.
In the study "Environmental conditions in health care facilities in low- and middle-income countries: Coverage and inequalities", researchers investigated the states of health care facilities across developing nations in an effort to provide tangible information about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set forth by the United Nations. The study was a more extensive look into a World Health Organization report from 2015, written by Jamie Bartram, a UNC professor of environmental sciences and engineering and director of The Water Institute at UNC, and his research partner Ryan Cronk, a graduate research assistant with the institute.
“Our goals were to shed light on the status of water, sanitation, hygiene and environmental conditions in health care facilities in developing countries,” Cronk said.
The Sustainable Development Goals include benchmarks of 17 areas that the U.N. hopes the global community can achieve by 2030. They were made in the image of the Millennium Development Goals — eight goals that all 191 U.N. member states agreed to achieve by 2015. Improving environmental conditions, Cronk said, is vital to achieving the new SDGs.
The researching team looked broadly at the factors that affect environmental health, including the state of health care facilities, but namely UNICEF's three core issues known as "WASH" — water, sanitation and hygiene conditions . Addressing these issues is vital to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, so the availability of standard precautionary items, such as gloves and medical gowns, was also considered.