Preliminary assessment of COVID-19 implications for the water and sanitation sector in Latin America and the Caribbean

Miguel De França Doria*, Patricia Segurado, Marcelo Korc, Leo Heller, Blanca Jimenez Cisneros, Paul R. Hunter, Martin Forde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has had a severe impact on human health, as well as in social and economic terms, with implications for the management and governance of the water and sanitation sector. These implications are evident in Latin America and the Caribbean due to existing challenges the region faces in accessing water and sanitation services. In spite of significant advances, around 65 million people in the LAC region currently lack appropriate access to water and soap to wash their hands—one of the most basic measures to prevent the spread of disease. Furthermore, social and economic vulnerabilities have exacerbated the effects of the pandemic in the region, particularly among those living in poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic thus requires the mobilization of frameworks such as the human rights to water and sanitation, specifically considering the region’s realities. This paper provides a review of some of the challenges currently faced in the region and advances a series of recommendations for enhancing access to water, sanitation and hygiene. The importance of effective governance, management and communication strategies in the water provisioning sector is highlighted in the context of the pandemic, and the role of science and research for adequate decision making is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11703
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Water and sanitation


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