Good health depends on safe water, clean air, and sound sanitation and hygiene
It’s easy to take for granted faucets that stream clean water and toilets that flush away waste to sophisticated treatment facilities.
But for nearly 2 billion people in the world who do not have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene facilities, everyday activities carry great risk. A drink of water can contain parasites or bacteria that cause cholera, diarrheal disease, and other illnesses. And a lack of access to toilets or latrines can bring people into contact with human waste, with devastating health effects for children and their families.
This is why PATH supports water, air, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions all the way from early concept to large-scale use, translating smart ideas into tangible change for millions of people. We take a market-based approach to give families tools to build healthier lives and communities.
Bringing safe water to communities and homes
PATH improves access to safe drinking water by applying our expertise in everything from user-centered design to creative consumer financing. We develop low-cost, easy-to-use technologies that bring safe drinking water to humanitarian relief settings, schools, health facilities, and communities.
And after decades of experience developing household water treatment and safe storage solutions, we are giving away our designs for high-quality, user-designed water filters to large and small companies, harnessing local competition and bringing low-income families new, affordable choices for safe water at home.
Sanitation and hygiene
Improved sanitation and better hygiene facilities can have profound health benefits. PATH focuses on the end user and has developed a set of tools grounded in our extensive product development experience to improve sanitation and hygiene technologies for household and community settings. Our tools help identify appropriate technologies for different end users and contexts. Ultimately, PATH seeks to build markets to increase accessibility, affordability, and use of health products through supply chain strengthening and financing mechanisms.
Cooking or heating homes with fuels like coal or wood leads to indoor air pollution that causes pneumonia, asthma, cancer, and other serious illnesses. PATH has worked to make clean-burning fuel available to low-income consumers to decrease exposure to indoor air pollution.
Improving menstrual health options
Cultural taboos, insufficient knowledge, and a lack of access to menstrual hygiene products keep adolescent girls and women out of school and work during their periods. PATH is leading a growing movement to combat these issues. Our total market approach includes increasing access to affordable menstrual care products to help girls and women manage menstruation with dignity and knowledge.
Photo: PATH/Gabe Bienczycki.