Why BabyWASH?

In our world, 159 million children under 5 face stunted growth in which poor hygiene and sanitation causes about 15% of that stunting. 45% of all child deaths are due to undernutrition and 50% of underweight status in children is due to poor water, sanitiation and hygiene. 

WASH interventions, during child birth, have been shown to reduce maternal and newborn mortality, sepsis, tetanus, and aid overall recovery. Also, current and emerging research supports the theory of environmental enteric dysfunction(EED), a condition caused by poor hygiene that leads to chronic inflammation and low nutrient absorption. The microbiome, linear growth trajectory, cognitive, sensorimotor, and socioemotional brain pathways are all determined prior to age three. The effects of poor hygiene during the first 1,000 days of life can determine whether or not a child will reach his or her developmental potential. BabyWASH targets all stages of a newborn's life within the first 1,000 days and strives towards overall psycho-social well being in addition to physical and cognitive development.  

At a quick glance, 

  • Save 32,000 mothers and 405,000 babies each year through more hygienic birth practices. (WHO 2015)
  • Reduce the 45% of child deaths each year linked to malnutrition. (WHO 2016)
  • Reduce diarrhoea rates by 30-40% through ensuring safe water at point of consumption. (WHO 2014)
  • Reduce risk of neonatal mortality by 44% by early initiation of breastfeeding. (Lancet 2014
  • Increase multi-sectoral ownership of ECD to protect the 43% of children in low- and middle-income countries at risk of failing to reach their full developmental potential. (Lancet 2016)


World Vision is committed to figuring out how best to integrate our sectors to improve child well-being. A toolkit has been created to help guide our national offices and support offices that focus around 7 priority intervention areas: 2 during pregnancy to PREPARE the household for a hygienic birth, 2 during delivery at the healthcare facility to FACILITATE a WASH safe birth, and 3 during the newborn period including the onset of mobility and the onset of complementary feeding to PROTECT a child from infection from an unhygienic environment. For more info or to get a copy of the toolkit, please e-mail


For more information, please contact World Vision expert:

Kristie Urich, Knowledge Management Coordinator, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene