Will COVID-19 inspire the world to provide poor people with clean water?

Handwashing can prevent many diseases, if you have easy access to soap and water. Some three billion people don’t.

“You have come from Mumbai to teach us about handwashing?”

The villagers couldn’t stop laughing at Yusuf Kabir. He works at UNICEF’s Mumbai office, in a division with an apt acronym—WASH, for water, sanitation, and hygiene—and he was on a tour of the Latur district, some 250 miles east of Mumbai, to advocate hand hygiene as a safeguard of health. In Latur, as elsewhere in the state of Maharashtra, Kabir was learning that handwashing just wasn’t a priority for many villagers. “They couldn’t see any tangible impact,” he recalls.

That was long before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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