Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

In Nepal, women are still banished to ‘menstrual huts’ during their periods. It’s time to end this dangerous tradition

In Nepal, women are still banished to ‘menstrual huts’ during their periods. It’s time to end this dangerous tradition. Independent, May 24, 2017.

After seeing the practice of seclusion and the plight of these women, I believe that taboos around periods are not a cultural issue, they are a human rights issue 

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An example of a menstrual hut in remote areas of Nepal (Anjana Saud/Tatapani)

As a journalist and development professional living and working in Katmandu, I have had the chance to see menstruating women’s situation across Nepal from close quarters.

I found that the practice of isolating women during their period exists across the country in differing forms. The situation of women living at the rural areas is terrible.

In some places, women cannot be in their own homes during their period; in others women can be in the house, but not in the kitchen and worship room.

They are also forbidden from touching other people (especially male members of the family or neighbours) or cattle and from growing fruit and vegetables.

Read the complete article.

PMA2020 Menstrual Hygiene Management Briefs

PMA2020 Menstrual Hygiene Management Briefs

PMA2020 MHM Briefs are a one-page snapshot of select MHM indicators. PMA2020-horizontal-web-tagline

PMA2020 looks at how menstrual hygiene is managed across age groups and across wealth categories, including the types of materials used to collect menstrual blood, the main environments where MHM is practiced, and the safety, privacy, and cleanliness of these environments, among other metrics.

Briefs are available on Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia and other countries on the PMA2020 website.

FRESH webinar: Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies – Global guidelines and lessons learned from the Philippines

Presenters: Marni Sommer, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; Jon Michael Villasenor, UNICEF Philippines
Time: 17 May 2017

Marni Sommer discussed the soon to be published Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Emergencies Toolkit, developed by Columbia University and the International Rescue Committee in partnership with the global humanitarian response community.

Jon Villasenor’s presentation was on the MHM response to the typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2014, where he will be discussing the actions taken in the immediate aftermath and over the longer recovery period.

 

Celebrating Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017 – Water Currents

Celebrated worldwide on May 28 each year, Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD) is a global initiative that brings together organizations, individuals, and the media to raise awareness about menstrual hygiene management (MHM). mhday

This issue of Water Currents contains information on MHD events, select 2017 and 2016 publications and videos on the topic, links to relevant websites, and news articles. (Photo Credit: USAID/WASHplus)

Events 
Menstrual Hygiene Day, May 28, 2017. WASH United, 2017. The theme for 2017’s advocacy event is “Education about Menstruation Changes Everything.” MHD raises awareness of the challenges women and girls worldwide face due to their menstruation and highlights solutions that address these challenges. The MHD website features campaign materials, a list of events, and fact sheets and other resources.

Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies: Global Guidelines and Lessons Learned from the Philippines. UNESCO, May 2017. A recording of this webinar, held May 17, will soon be available on the Schools & Health website. Marni Sommer discussed the soon-to-be published Menstrual Hygiene Management in Emergencies toolkit developed by Columbia University and the International Rescue Committee in partnership with the global humanitarian response community. Another presentation described the MHM response in the Philippines to Typhoon Haiyan.

Publications and Videos 
Menstrual Hygiene Management Policy Brief. SHARE, January 2017. This policy brief summarizes previous research on MHM, defines knowledge gaps that still exist, and sets out clear recommendations for improving policy and programs globally.

How El Niño forecasts can help prevent cholera deaths in Africa

How El Niño forecasts can help prevent cholera deaths in Africa. The Conversation, May 14, 2017.

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Pit latrine in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Access to clean water and sanitation are key to preventing cholera epidemics. D. Schafer, SuSanA/Flickr, CC

Since it first emerged from the Ganges River delta 200 years ago, cholera has killed tens of millions of people around the world. It causes acute diarrhea that can kill quickly without proper treatment. Before the 1970s it was not unusual for healthy adults to die of dehydration within days of infection, despite drinking large amounts of water.

By some estimates, over a billion people worldwide live in areas where there is risk of cholera, and hundreds of thousands die every year. But when people have access to clean water, appropriate treatment or vaccine, the risk of cholera is greatly reduced. With well-trained medical staff and supplies, appropriate and timely treatment of cholera patients can ensure that almost no one dies.

In a recent study, our group sought to understand how weather changes caused by El Niño impact cholera risk in Africa, where most cholera deaths occur. El Niño events can now be forecast as much as a year in advance, so knowing this relationship may help forecast where cholera outbreaks are most likely to occur.

Read the complete article.

Recent news on cholera outbreaks

May 9 – Yemen war: Surge in cholera outbreak kills 34 – WHO – The World Health Organisation says 2,022 suspected cases of cholera and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) were reported between 27 April and 7 May.

May 9 – IOM Responds as Cholera Outbreak Spreads in South Sudan – Relief agencies are responding to cholera outbreaks across the country, with nine counties currently reporting active transmission, including three in Jonglei alone.

May 9 – Haiti sees decrease in suspected cholera cases – (PAHO) says the number of suspected cholera cases reported in this French-speaking Caribbean country, up to April 8, 2017, has decreased when compared to the same periods in 2015 and 2016.In its latest report, PAHO says to date 4,871 suspected cholera cases have been reported in Haiti, including 69 deaths. This represents a 60 and 61 per cent decrease compared to the 12,373 and 12,226 suspected cholera cases reported during the same period in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

May 5 – As rainy season starts, UN health agency warns of cholera outbreak in drought-hit Somalia – Somalia is suffering from the largest cholera outbreak in the past five years and the number of people killed is expected to double by the end of June, the United Nations health agency. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) reported close to 32,000 cases of cholera, including 618 deaths, since the beginning of the year.

May 6 – Nagpur – After 4 years, cholera makes a comeback –  After a lull of four years, cholera, the deadliest of all water borne diseases has raised its ugly head again. About 31 positive cases of cholera have been recorded between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

May 1 – Ghana – Health Service reminds regional directors to be alert for cholera outbreak –  The Ghana Health Service has reminded of its cholera alert to all regional health directors and warned of the risk of an outbreak in 2017, has increased by the onset of the rains and potential flooding in some communities.

 

Recent sanitation and health research

Evidence-based approaches to childhood stunting in low and middle income countries: a systematic review. Archives of Diseases in Childhood, May 2017.

Nutrition education and counselling, growth monitoring and promotion, immunisation, water, sanitation and hygiene and social safety net programmes appear to be the most commonly included interventions of an effective package in most low and middle income countries settings. Single interventions reduced stunting only in countries with specific disease burden. Intervention worked best when country, community and programme context were taken into account.

Escherichia coli contamination of child complementary foods and association with domestic hygiene in rural Bangladesh. Tropical Medicine International Health, May 2017.

We found high E. coli contamination in 12% of complementary food samples in rural Bangladeshi households, which is similar to studies from other low-income settings. Lack of water near the food preparation area, longer storage duration, storing food uncovered, temperatures >25 °C in the food storage area, flies captured in food preparation area and hand contact with food while serving were all factors that significantly contributed to high levels of E. coli contamination throughout the year, independent of season. The presence of animals in the compound was associated with an increase in E. coli counts. These findings provide guidance for designing targeted food hygiene interventions.

Impact of the Integration of Water Treatment, Hygiene, Nutrition, and Clean Delivery Interventions on Maternal Health Service Use. (Abstract/order) American Jnl of Tropical Med & Hyg, May 2017.

For women who lived ≤ 2.5 km from the health facility, the estimated odds of health facility delivery (OR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.5–4.1) and postnatal care visit (OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.0–2.6) were higher than for those who lived > 2.5 km away. Compared with baseline, a higher percentage of survey participants at follow-up were able to demonstrate proper handwashing (P = 0.001); water treatment behavior did not change. This evaluation suggested that hygiene, nutritional, clean delivery incentives, higher education level, and geographical contiguity to health facility were associated with increased use of maternal health services by pregnant women