Tag Archives: water quality

Extra Food Means Nothing to Stunted Kids With Bad Water

Extra Food Means Nothing to Stunted Kids With Bad Water: Health | Source: Adi Narayan, Bloomberg-Jun 12, 2013 |

Aameena Mohammed gives her 20-month-old daughter Daslim Banu plenty to eat. The girl’s mother supplements breast milk with eggs, soup and rice to help her grow. The extra food doesn’t help. Daslim still weighs only as much as a healthy infant half her age.

Mohammed’s home, in one of the poorest districts of the south Indian city of Vellore, is among the 65 percent of India’s homes without running water and safe sewage disposal. Feces and urine collect next to the doorway in an open drain — the source of odor permeating the tin-roofed shack and of the microbes likely retarding the toddler’s growth.

Polluted water runs through a sewer in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Only 26 percent of the 6 billion gallons of sewage generated daily in India is treated.

Polluted water runs through a sewer in the Dharavi slum area of Mumbai, India. Only 26 percent of the 6 billion gallons of sewage generated daily in India is treated.

Scientists increasingly suspect that constant exposure to bacteria, virus and parasite-laden fecal contaminants may be frustrating attempts to end malnutrition. In effect, the best diet-based measures to fight chronic hunger in the developing world are being negated by a failure to meet basic human needs: clean water and sanitation.

The problem exists not just in India. A quarter of children indeveloping countries are underweight, and malnutrition is the root cause of the deaths of more than 2 million children annually, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund inNew York. Worldwide, 870 million people are chronically hungry, almost all of them in developing countries.

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Seasonal Effects of Water Quality on Infant and Child Health in India

Seasonal Effects of Water Quality on Infant and Child Health in India, December 2011.

Elizabeth Brainerd, Nidhiya Menon

This paper examines the impact of fertilizer agrichemicals in water on infant and child health using data on water quality combined with data on the health outcomes of infants and children from the 1992-93, 1998 99, and 2005-06 Demographic and Health Surveys of India. Because fertilizers are applied at specific times in the growing season, the concentrations of agrichemicals in water vary seasonally and by agricultural region as some Indian states plant predominantly summer crops while others plant winter crops.

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Inaugural issue of the Journal of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Development online

The International Water Association (IWA) has made the first issue of its  new peer-reviewed Journal of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Development, available online, with free access to the full text PDFs of  all articles.

Access to following issues will be by subscription or pay-per-view only, although authors have an option to pay to make their articles open access.

The first issue includes articles about the sanitation ladder, constructed wetlands, WASH approaches in Zimbabwe, wastewater treatment in Brazil, SODIS and water quality field tests.

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WHO – Drinking-water Quality Guidelines, new edition

Launch of the 4th edition of WHO Drinking-water Quality Guidelines at Singapore International Water Week

The latest drinking-water guidelines are now available for download or book order following their global launch at the Singapore International Water Week on 4 July 2011. These Guidelines are the product of systematic revisions over more than five years of extensive consultation with hundreds of experts. This 4th edition expands on key concepts like health-based targets and water safety planning; presents new risk assessments on microbial, chemical and radiological hazards, and addresses emerging issues of public concern like pharmaceuticals in drinking-water.

Link to Full-text

Rochelle Rainey/USAID – From Catchment to Consumer: Emphasizing Water Quality

From Catchment to Consumer:  Emphasizing Water Quality at the National Level. A presentation at the AWWA Water Quality Technology Meeting, November, 2010.

by Rochelle Rainey, USAID Environmental Health Advisor,  rrainey@usaid.gov

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Effect of water quality, hygiene and sanitation in preventing diarrhoea deaths

Researchers propose diarrhoea risk reductions of 48, 17 and 36%, associated respectively, with handwashing with soap, improved water quality and excreta disposal as the estimates of effect for the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) model [1].

LiST is a new computer-based planning tool to help estimate the impact of scaling-up maternal, newborn and child health interventions. LiST was developed by a consortium of academic and international organizations, led by Institute of International Programs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School.

Researchers led by Prof. Sandy Cairncross of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, drew on three systematic reviews, two of them for the Cochrane Collaboration, to determine the estimated effect on diarrhoea mortality of the three interventions.

The striking effect of handwashing with soap (48% reduction) was found to be consistent across various study designs and pathogens, though it depended on access to water. The effect of (household) water treatment appeared similarly large, but was not found in few blinded studies, suggesting that it might be partly due to the placebo effect. The researchers found very little rigorous evidence for the health benefit of sanitation; four intervention studies were eventually identified, though they were all quasi-randomized, had morbidity as the outcome, and were in Chinese.

While most of the evidence was found to be of poor quality and more trials were required, the evidence was nonetheless strong enough to support the provision of water supply, sanitation and hygiene for all.

[1] Cairncross, S., Hunt, C., Boisson, S., Bostoen, K., Curtis, V., Fung, I.C. and Schmidt, W.P. (2010). Water, sanitation and hygiene for the prevention of diarrhoea. International journal of epidemiology ; vol. 39 (Suppl. 1) ; p. i193-i205. DOI:10.1093/ije/dyq035

The complete issue of the April 2010 supplement of the International journal of epidemiology is devoted to the development and use of the Lives Saved Tool (LiST). Other articles deal with rotavirus vaccine, zinc treatment for diarrhoea, antibiotics for dysentery, and oral rehydration solution. All articles are free to download.

The Economist – Enough water is not enough: it must also be clean

IF WATER has the capacity to enhance life, its absence has the capacity to make it miserable. David Gray, a water practitioner who has served the World Bank in almost every river basin on the globe and is now a professor at Oxford, has a technique that makes the point. Every day he receives e-mails with water stories from newspapers round the world. By briefly displaying to an audience just one day’s crop—including, say, drought in Australia, floods in Kenya, an empty dam in Pakistan, a toxic spill in the Yellow river and saltwater contamination in Haiti—he can soon show how water may dominate if not destroy lives, especially in poor countries.

Some of its most pernicious influences, though, never make the headlines. This is how they might read: “Over 1.2 billion people have to defecate in the open.” “The biggest single cause of child deaths is diarrhoea or diseases related to it.” “Nearly 1 billion people have no access to piped drinking water or safe taps or wells.” Each of these statements is linked to water.

Surprisingly, some of those who have to defecate in the open do not mind. Some rural men, and even women, quite enjoy a social squat in the bushes. But for many, and certainly for those who must live with its consequences, it is a disagreeable practice. Women and, especially, girls often find it embarrassing. Many women in South Asia contain themselves by day and wait till nightfall before venturing into the shadows. Girls at African schools without latrines often drop out rather than risk the jeers of their male contemporaries. Slum-dwellers in Nairobi have to pick their way through streams of sewage and take care to avoid “flying toilets”, plastic bags filled with excrement that are flung with desperate abandon into the night.

Without piped water to wash their hands with, let alone to drink, the open-air defecators and another 800m people with access only to primitive latrines are inevitably carriers of disease. If they could wash their hands with soap and water, they could block one of the main transmission routes for the spread of both diarrhoeal diseases and respiratory infections. As it is, patients with water-related diseases fill half the hospital beds in the poorest countries, and dirty water and poor sanitation kill 5,000 children a day.

Clean water is crucial for children with diarrhoea; they need rehydration and electrolytes to survive. Even then, they may still be at risk of malnutrition if they continue to suffer from diarrhoea, which will prevent them from absorbing their food properly. This usually has long-term consequences. Malnutrition in the womb and during the first two years of life is now seen as causing irreversible changes that lead to lifelong poor health.

Poor health, bad in itself, translates into poor economic output. A study in Guatemala followed the lives of children in four villages from their earliest years to ages between 25 and 42. In two villages the children were given a nutritious supplement for their first seven years, and in the other pair a less nutritious one. The boys who had had the more nutritious diet in their first two years were found to have larger bodies, a greater capacity for physical work, more schooling and better cognitive skills. They also grew up to earn average wages 46% higher than the other groups.

Studies in Ghana and Pakistan suggest that the long-term impact of malnutrition associated with diarrhoeal infections costs each country 4-5% of GDP. This can be added to a similar burden for “environmental risk”, which includes malaria and poor access to water and sanitation, both water- related, as well as indoor air pollution. All in all, the World Health Organisation thinks that half the consequences of malnutrition are caused by inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene. In Ghana and Pakistan the total cost of these shortcomings may amount to 9% of GDP, and these two countries are not unique.

Read More – The Economist