Recent WASH research – July 14, 2017


Counting how many people have water, sanitation and hygiene. WASHwatch, July 13, 2017.
New data from UNICEF/WHO estimate the percentage of the global population using at least a basic level of service for drinking water and sanitation to be 89% and 68%, respectively. Stuart Kempster, WaterAid’s Policy Analyst for Monitoring and Accountability, looks into what we can tell from the estimates.

Habit Formation and Rational Addiction: A Field Experiment in Handwashing. Reshmaan Hussam, December 2016.
Motivated by scholarship that suggests handwashing is habitual, we design, implement and analyze a randomized field experiment aimed to test the main predictions of the rational addiction model.

Assessing Women’s Negative Sanitation Experiences and Concerns: The Development of a Novel Sanitation Insecurity Measure. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, July 11, 2017.
We developed a sanitation insecurity measure to capture the range and frequency of women’s sanitation-related concerns and negative experiences. The final sanitation insecurity measure includes 50 items across seven factors that reflect the physical environment, the social environment, and individual-level constraints. This measure will enable researchers to evaluate how sanitation insecurity affects health and to determine if and how sanitation interventions ameliorate women’s concerns and negative experiences associated with sanitation.

Prediction of Human Development from Environmental Indicators. Social Indicators Research, July 8, 2017. The results showed that exposure to unsafe sanitation, access to drinking water, tree cover loss, unsafe water quality, wastewater treatment level, and household air pollution are excellent predictors of human development index of a population. This tool can help stakeholders to monitor and control indicators attributed to good health and well-being, quality education, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities and life on land sustainable development goals.


Effects of sanitation on cognitive development and school absence: A systematic review. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, July 1, 2017.
While studies to date provide some support for positive effects from sanitation on cognitive development, the effects on school absence are uncertain. Differences in effects may be due to differences in study settings, type of sanitation exposure and most notably in outcome definitions.

Switching to sanitation: Understanding latrine adoption in a representative panel of rural Indian households. Social Science & Medicine, July 6, 2017.
Among rural households that defecated in the open in 2005, we investigate what baseline properties and what changes over time are associated with switching to latrine use between 2005 and 2012.

Animal feces contribute to domestic fecal contamination: Evidence from E. coli measured in water, hands, food, flies and soil in Bangladesh. Environ. Sci. Technol., July 7, 2017.
We provide empirical evidence of fecal transmission in the domestic environment despite on-site sanitation. Animal feces contribute to fecal contamination, and fecal indicator bacteria do not strictly indicate human fecal contamination when animals are present.

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