Category Archives: IYS Themes

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds. Washington Post, February 13, 2017.

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Monrovia, Liberia, was hit hard during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. (Zoom Dosso/AFP via Getty Images)

They are called superspreaders, the minority of people who are responsible for infecting many others during epidemics of infectious diseases. Perhaps the most famous superspreader was Typhoid Mary, presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, between 1900 and 1907.

Now scientists studying how Ebola spread during the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa say superspreaders played a bigger role than was previously known, according to findings published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 If superspreading had been completely controlled, almost two-thirds of the infections might have been prevented, scientists said.

Do it differently: Toilets are not enough to achieve sanitation, India must reinvent the waste business

Do it differently: Toilets are not enough to achieve sanitation, India must reinvent the waste business. by Sunita Narain, Times of India, February 11, 2017.

The most important programme of this government is Clean India – not just of corruption, but of the muck and filth that is taking over our rivers, our air and our cities.

But equally (and more) important is the agreement that this ‘cleaning’ up is not possible unless we can provide every Indian with toilets that work and toilets that are connected to systems that will safely dispose human excreta, to prevent further pollution of our environment and create another source of bad health.

This agenda is therefore, not just about building toilets but about building sanitation systems that are affordable by all. Only when growth is affordable and inclusive can it be sustainable.

But this is where the opportunity also lies in doing things differently. Till now, the paradigm for urban sanitation has been costly. It has been based on the idea that building toilets is enough to clean the country.

But the excreta sums of different cities, or what we call the city’s “shit-flow” diagram, shows that the situation is grim. Today’s cities do not treat or safely dispose the bulk of human excreta generated.

Read the complete article.

Living standards lag behind economic growth

Living standards lag behind economic growth. Eureka Alert, February 13, 2017.

As incomes rise in developing countries, access to basic amenities such as electricity, clean cooking energy, water, and sanitation, also improves–but not uniformly, and not as quickly as income growth, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The study looked at historical rates of energy access compared to other living standards and GDP.

“What we found is that income growth alone isn’t enough on its own to get these basic necessities to all people in society,” explains IIASA researcher Narasimha D. Rao, who led the study.

The researchers also found that access to clean cooking energy and sanitation lagged behind access to electricity and water, a finding which has an outsize impact on the poorest members of society, and especially on women.

“Women bear the brunt of health risks that come from cooking with solid fuels, as well as from lack of sanitation, because women are predominantly responsible for cooking and household work,” explains IIASA researcher Shonali Pachauri, who also worked on the study.

Read the complete article.

5 Offbeat Toilets India Should Adopt To Fight Sanitation Problems

5 Offbeat Toilets India Should Adopt To Fight Sanitation Problems. Swach India, February 2017.

In the era of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, issues like open defecation and human waste are getting attention from a large section of our society. Building public toilets that not only define innovation but are also user friendly and cost effective is the need of the hour. In our country 47 percent of people still defecate in the open, and these creative ideas can definitely fight this social problem.

Here is a list of 5 innovative toilets that India can adopt to address the problems of sanitation. 5offbeattoiletsindiashouldadopttofightsanitationproblems11

Solar Powered Urine Diversion (SPUD) Toilets: Having the qualities of affordability, and user-friendly, this toilet is 100% waterless and chemical-free and can be easily installed in rural parts of India. Highlight- Human waste turns into manure.

Portable Tent Toilets: It’s an earth friendly, convenient and portable solution to open defecation in slums. The waste is collected in a biodegradable bag that contains ‘ChemiSan,’ a material that helps to deodorize and decompose the waste. Highlight- Helps in saving water.

Read the complete article.

Rushing into solutions without fully grasping the problem

Which factors in the enabling environment and which links between actors are key to achieving reliable sanitation services?

Tanzania did not reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) concerning improved sanitation facilities in 2012 (JMP Report 2014). Several years later – in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there is still a lot to be done in the sanitation sector.

Angela Huston (IRC Programme Officer) and Dr Sara Gabrielsson (Assistant Professor at Lund University) are working on an upcoming book chapter about deconstructing the complexities that perpetuate poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in East Africa. Departing from Sustainability Science, the chapter aims to identify which factors in the enabling environment are key to achieving reliable WASH services. This article highlights Huston’s and Gabrielsson’s insights into this topic.

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In Burkina Faso the political commitment for sanitation is unequivocal

The first lady of Burkina Faso has pledged her support for the “Fasotoilettes 2017” campaign.

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IRC and their partners have been saying it for years: to achieve universal sanitation by 2030 (SDG6-2), the commitment of all stakeholders is essential – from the top to the active participation of citizens at grass roots level. We all remember that the President of Burkina Faso made water and sanitation a priority in his electoral campaign and since his election the Government has continued to show its commitment to sanitation and supports the participatory approach promoted by many NGOs by calling on all the citizens of Burkina to get involved.

And on 23 January, it is the wife of the President, Mrs. Sika Kaboré, who added her voice to this movement, showing the importance she accords to the subject by joining the people’s campaign for toilets, “FASOTOILETTES 2017, presiding the opening ceremony.

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Fasotoilettes 2017 launch ceremony by Mrs Sika Kaboré

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Trading in trash: Nairobi’s e-waste entrepreneurs – in pictures

Trading in trash: Nairobi’s e-waste entrepreneurs – in pictures. The Guardian, February 1, 2017.

From small-scale traders to a company processing hundreds of tonnes of e-waste, we explore Nairobi’s relationship with a burgeoning waste stream and visit the people turning it into a resource. Photographs and words by Nathan Siegel.  nairobi

John Obanda, who owns a repair shop, fixes a broken motherboard. Obanda sources items from collectors who work in nearby landfill sites and is one of thousands of traders who buy and recycle discarded electrical and electronic goods in Nairobi.

E-waste has ballooned in the city in the past decade due to rising mobile phone penetration and a burgeoning middle class.

Read the complete article.