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News PSI “Women, Water, Workers and Health” campaign

The International days of action for Women, Water, Workers and Health will be held on 8 March (International Women’s Day), 22 March (World Water Day) and 7 April (World Health Day). Women and trade unions call for quality public water and health services FOR ALL.

Access to clean, safe water is fundamental if we are to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, reduce child mortality and ensure good health for all. It is essential that States invest in quality water and sanitation services in the interest of public health. Evidence suggests that when the majority of health care financing comes through government, health outcomes are better. Where public health systems are well-funded and governed, governments have the necessary oversight and authority to rationally plan health care according to population needs, keep costs down and promote social protection for the poor and vulnerable.

Trade unions play a key role in developing quality public water and health care systems. Trade union members are often front-line experts with hands-on knowledge of how to improve management and delivery of quality water and health services. They know which systems can be improved and how resources can be used more effectively.

Taking advantage of the technical resources and expertise that exists in municipal water utilities is another option to improve the quality of water services. Rather than sell off vital services, authorities should seek knowledge-sharing between successful public water undertakings and those that need improvement. Capacity building for public water and sanitation utilities includes training for workers, together with the maintenance and improvement of infrastructure. These are all vital investments for our future. Public sector trade unions from developing and developed countries can play an essential role. These partnerships are often called public-public partnerships or ‘twinnings’. They are a valuable contribution to the improvement of water services and to the strengthening of public utilities.

The key campaign messages that are being promoted by PSI are:

- Access to safe and affordable water is a fundamental human right

- Universal access to safe, affordable water promotes public health and accelerates development

- Publicly funded quality health and care services are crucial to empowering women

- Reliance on private provision of health care and water services exacerbates inequalities

- Governments must invest in public water, health and sanitation services

- Water and health care must be kept in public hands

The campaign materials consist of postcards, posters and a brochure. These should assist affiliates in their quality public services campaigns, help them in their efforts to raise awareness amongst their membership, in local communities, in schools and in national debates and be of use in recruitment and organising of campaigns.

Copies of the materials will be available shortly on the campaign website at the following address: For further information, please contact

Contact information Email:
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information EPSU
Geographical coverage EU
News date 19/02/2009
Working language(s) ENGLISH