COVID-19 Pandemic and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Impacts, Challenges, and Mitigation Strategies

Environ Health Insights. 2021 Jul 14;15:11786302211029447. doi: 10.1177/11786302211029447. eCollection 2021.


Background: In order to protect public health during the outbreaks of infectious diseases including the pandemic COVID-19, provision of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) services is important. The challenges of inaccessible WASH services along with the pandemic COVID-19 in low-income countries can lead to a devastating problem.

Method: A systematic search of published articles was identified using PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar, on relevant studies of COVID-19 and WASH services. Published articles were identified using abstracts and titles of the articles, followed by assessed for eligibility, and screening of the full text reports of relevant studies.

Results: Electronic database search identified 798 articles from which 28 full text articles were included in the systematic review. A lack of access to WASH services in households, schools, health care facilities, and other public spaces were the main identified COVID-19 related public health risks. A lack of adequate data and financial shortages were the challenges for mitigating the problems of COVI-19 and WASH services.

Conclusion: This systematical review identified the impacts and challenges of COVID-19 in the provision of WASH services. The results implied that COVID-19 has significant impacts on WASH services that can affect the health of the public. Therefore, strengthening and ensuring access to WASH services are important for preventing COVID-19 and realizing human rights. Community engagement also can be used to support for prevention and control of COVID-19. Countries need to be expand their investment in WASH services as an important mechanism for mitigating COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; WASH; and strategies; challenges; hygiene; impacts; sanitation; water.

Publication types

  • Review