This issue updates the May 2013 Weekly on WASH-related diseases. Included are links to four reports, seven journal articles plus 14 Weeklies on WASH and various health issues. Studies in this issue review the health impacts of drought, WASH and nutrition, behavior change frameworks, and WASH and HIV/AIDS.
Considerations for Policy Development and Scaling-Up Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage with Communicable Disease Prevention Efforts, 2013. World Health Organization. (Full text, pdf)
The overall consensus from a group of technical experts was that existing meta-analyses, individual research reports, and WHO guidelines provide sufficient support for scaling-up household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS). More can and should be done to integrate HWTS into HIV, child and maternal health, dengue and vector control, and other targeted efforts. Some of the report’s recommendations are: link HWTS with efforts to rapidly expand HIV testing in order to reach the global HIV target of treating 15 million by 2015; increase implementation of HWTS to end preventable child deaths from pneumonia and diarrhea by 2025; and develop and implement preventive interventions that jointly address fecal contamination and vector breeding in household water storage containers.
Effects of Early-Life Exposure to Sanitation on Childhood Cognitive Skills: Evidence from India’s Total Sanitation Campaign, 2013. D Spears. (Full text, pdf)
This study focuses on the effects on childhood cognitive achievement of early life exposure to India’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), a large government program that encouraged local governments to build and promote use of inexpensive pit latrines. The researchers concluded that six-year-olds exposed to TSC in their first year of life were more likely to recognize letters and simple numbers. Results suggest that open defecation is an important threat to the human capital of the Indian labor force, and a program that is feasible to low capacity governments in developing countries could improve average cognitive skills.
Integrating Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene into Nutrition Programming, 2013. WASHplus. (Link, pdf)
Diarrhea, pneumonia, and birth complications are the top three killers of children under age 5 worldwide. Diarrhea is also a leading cause of undernutrition in this age group, and one-third to one-half of all child mortality cases are linked to undernutrition. If mothers and other caregivers used basic hygiene practices and had better access to safe water and adequate sanitation this could greatly reduce under-5 deaths and improve child nutrition.