Author Archives: WASHplus

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on WASH & Ebola

Issue 167| Oct  31, 2014 | Focus on WASH and Ebola

This issue contains updates on Ebola outbreaks and other recent journal and newspaper articles as well as links to World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites on Ebola. Included are WHO/UNICEF factsheets, guidance on making chlorine solution from Tufts University, articles from the Global Public-Private Partnership on Handwashing, a summary of water and Ebola issues from the Pacific Institute, Ebola-related anthropological studies from the Institute of Development Studies, and other resources. WASHPlus_HTMLbanner_weekly_600x159

OVERVIEWS

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD): Key Questions and Answers Concerning Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, 2014. WHO. Link
The key to controlling the hazard associated with the presence of the virus in the body fluids of infected individuals lies in the rigorous enforcement of protocols to separate and contain ALL body fluids (including feces and urine). Feces from suspected or confirmed Ebola cases must be treated as a biohazard and handled at a minimum.

An Open Memo on Ebola and Water. Science Blogs, Oct 2014. P Gleick, Pacific Institute.Link
As input to the ongoing discussions about how to meet and overcome the spreading risks of Ebola, this blog post provides thoughts on the water-related components of U.S. efforts. The author urges manufacturers of water treatment technologies to confirm that they are designed and can be operated to specifically remove or inactivate Ebola-type viruses with high reliability and for medical experts to determine the quality and quantity of water needed in a field hospital setting.

Ebola Virus Disease Factsheet, 2014. WHO. Link
Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance, and contact tracing; a good laboratory service; safe burials; and social mobilization. Community engagement is key to successfully control outbreaks.

WASH-RELATED RESOURCES

Methods to Make Chlorine Solution in Ebola Emergencies, 2014. D Lantagne, Tufts University. Link
The methods for onsite manufacturing of chlorine include: diluting HTH or NaDCC powder in water; diluting concentrated liquid solution in water; and generating sodium hypochlorite using salt, water, and electricity.

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Launch of World Toilet Day 2014 website

WHAT IS WORLD TOILET DAY?

World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation.

Alcime, 28, in front of her community toilet. Cap-HaÏtien, Haiti. Photo: Shiho Fukada, Panos pictures for WSUP, Assisted by International Medical Corps UK.

Alcime, 28, in front of her community toilet. Cap-HaÏtien, Haiti. Photo: Shiho Fukada, Panos pictures for WSUP, Assisted by International Medical Corps UK.

It is a day to do something about it.

Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.

We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. This day had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world but was was not formally recognized as an official UN day until 2013. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with Governments and relevant stakeholders.

BioFizz, a biological product formulated to treat septic tanks as well as urban sanitation systems

BioFizz, a biological product formulated to treat septic tanks as well as urban sanitation systems, 2014. BioFizz

BioFizz is a biological sanitation treatment product intended for use in both septic tank systems, as well as conventional urban lavatories

BioFizz is a biological product developed by CSIR Biosciences, intended for use in both septic tank systems, as well as conventional urban lavatories. Septic tank systems are widely used in various parts of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in various other developing countries. Most urban populations in these countries are provided with septic tanks; although in some other less developed countries, up to 45 % still use traditional pit latrines.

The septic tank system provides a cost-effective on-site sanitation mechanism, and is the most cost-effective, and likely the only practical approach for securing the health benefits associated with hygienic disposal of excreta. Although its use is advantageous, numerous limitations of the use of septic tank systems have been reported.

The BioFizz product can also be applied as a biological alternative in normal domestic water borne sewage systems, where environmentally aware customers can use the product to reduce the burden on sewage treatment facilities and ensure cleaner effluent traps and pipes. On-site, point-of-source treatments of these septic tanks and urban lavatory systems are required in order to suitably treat sewage generated from households. This form of sanitation is also being adopted by suburban lifestyle estates and game lodges across Africa.

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Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy

Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation: The link between MHM and reproductive tract infections, and between WASH practices and pregnancy, October 2014. SHARE, WSSCC.

The approach utilizes a baseline cross-sectional survey to quantify  WASH practices and reported health history among a randomly-selected subset of girls and women from each of the four life-course groups in tribal, rural, and urban areas of Odisha, and a set of overlapping sub-studies each testing focused hypotheses about pathways between sanitation access, SRPS, hygiene behaviour and health.

Some Key Findings (for Practitioners):

  • While most sanitation challenges are universal for women, their  relative severity and frequency differed in urban, rural, and tribal areas and among young women, married women, and older adults. Strategies for improving latrine access and use could potentially utilize context-specific promotional strategies to
    encourage behaviour change.
  • Sanitation encompasses much more than defecation, specifically  within the Indian context. The act of defecation is embedded within other behaviours, including post-defecation cleaning, ritual bathing, and changing clothing; as well as menstrual management and urination. Strategies to improve sanitation
    coverage in India must be aware of how defecation practices are positioned within these larger behavioural patterns and responsive strategies are needed in order to facilitate adoption and use of sanitation technologies.

Oct 29, 2014 – The 3rd Annual Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in WASH in Schools Virtual Conference

The 3rd Annual Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in WASH in Schools Virtual Conference, Wednesday 29 October 2014

The 3rd virtual MHM in WinS conference will build on the content and recommendations of the prior two conferences and continue the effort to fill in the gaps in the existing knowledge and advocacy around this important issue. The one-day conference will bring together academics and health, gender, education, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) experts from around the world currently implementing MHM-related activities.

Conference objectives:

  • To share recent research findings that relate to various aspects of MHM in WinS
  • To highlight school-based MHM program descriptions and their potential for scale
  • To share recommendations about how new MHM programs can be developed by WinS practitioners

What to do with infant poo? The blind spot of the blind spot

After a few years researching and working on sanitation, I feel (felt) that I have a good knowledge about the topic, or at least good knowledge of most of it and a clear picture of the areas I should learn more about. Moreover as a shit-worker I –and probably most of us in the sector– have developed a sort of pride or even vanity about being a herald of a neglected cause…

Last week at the UNC Water and Health Conference I was humbled and even slightly embarrassed when I ‘discovered’ the world of children’s faeces in an exciting side session: “What to Do with Infant Poo? Evidence-based Programming to support safe disposal of young children’s faeces”. Convened by WSP, UNICEF and USAID / WASHPlus Project, the session included presentations of experiences from Kenya, Bangladesh and Cambodia, followed by group work on ways forward. infant_poo

It is not that I ignored everything about child faeces; I had read something, had had some coincidental observations while staying in Indian villages, where I also included the issue partially in household surveys by gathering information of individuals’ defecation practices. But overall my knowledge was limited to the fact that child faeces have more pathogens than adult shit, and therefore should be disposed of safely; I had not fully acknowledged the complexities of the issue and kind of took for granted that improvements in adult sanitation would automatically lead to better management of child faeces. I was thus struck by a study in Bangladesh (by ICDDR,B), a country where adult open defecation is minimal, that showed that only 11-14% of children’s faeces are disposed of in latrines.

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Robert Chambers – So Much to Keep Up With, So Much to Learn

This was the first time I have been to the annual four and a half day conference of the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina.  Like the annual WEDC conference, there was a huge, almost overwhelming, harvest of information and learning. Here are some bullets of things that struck me:

Inequality is big, big now, with the post-2015 agenda.  It will be picked up and reported in the JMP.  We are entering a new space.  Good. Robert_chambers

Ash. Soap or ash for handwashing.  A JMP committee was unwilling to mention ash because there has been no study of the health effects, only those of soap, although there is no question that microbiologically it is nearly as good as soap.  Let us hope that research will be funded – there are people willing to carry it out.  But the big money for HW research comes, I suppose, from Unilever and Proctor and Gamble.  There is scope here for funding from others.  Ash is poor-friendly – widely available, costless, can be left outside without being stolen or taken by teachers, and is not eaten by goats.  But the deeply rooted refrain is ‘handwashing with soap’.  Again and again one has to argue for including ash – ‘handwashing with soap or ash’ or for that matter, soil, depending on the soil.

Behaviour change.  This came up repeatedly. Far too much to absorb or report but some snippets:

  • Signing a pledge can be effective
  • When someone has invested (e.g in building their own toilet) they may feel they have to keep up appearances and justify it by using it
  • Frequent rewards can reinforce behaviour
  • Special times can be picked as opportunities for change – e.g. a marriage or funeral
  • New behaviours can piggy-back on one another through linking
  • ‘Choice is the enemy of behaviour change’.
  • People infer motives from observing their own behaviour (linked with dissonance reduction)

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