Health and Hygiene across the Life Course: World Health Assembly side session raises awareness on taboo subjects and shares best practice


The session drew attention to sustainable hygiene and health solutions, highlighting policy advances and often-neglected areas of sanitation and hygiene, including training for health centre cleaners and the unspoken subject of incontinence.

The Health and Hygiene across the Life Course session at the World Health Assembly 2017, organized by WSSCC, SCA,  the Government of Kenya and WaterAid brought together over 40 international delegates from UN agencies, private sector, member states, NGOs and academia to raise awareness about rarely-discussed issues in health and hygiene.  For example, the thought-provoking session drew attention to maternal health facilities that lack access to water, the need to train health facility cleaners, breaking the taboo on incontinence and ensuring regulations are in place to ensure appropriate sanitation and hygiene.

Please read the full session report here.


Dr Chris Williams, Executive Director of WSSCC, addressed the role of Ministers of Health in achieving access to water and sanitation for all.

Keynote address speaker, Dr Jackson Kioko, Director of Medical Services from the Government of Kenya gave the keynote address highlighting the recent progress and innovation in Kenya, particularly with the upcoming release of a dedicated Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) policy.

Chilufya Chileshe, WaterAid’s Regional Advocacy Manager in Southern Africa, and Alison Macintyre, WaterAid Health Advisor, gave a joint presentation on WASH in healthcare facilities, with a focus on maternal and new-born child health and the need to train health care cleaners.

WSSCC’s Head of Policy Advocacy Archana Patkar presented the issues of hygiene and vulnerability, considering the everyday sanitation and hygiene challenges for women and girls.

Kersti Strandqvist, Senior VP of Sustainability of Swedish hygiene products company Essity – part of  SCA -  highlighted the issue of incontinence, with research revealing that 1 in 3 people are affected.

Olivia Wigzell, Director General of  Socialstyrelsen ( the National Board of Health and Welfare in Sweden), raised the issues of regulation, accountability and responsibility, and highlighted some of Sweden’s efforts to respond to the Sustainable Development Goals.