Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

WASH Innovation Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners and finalists of the inaugural DFAT-sponsored Civil Society Innovation Award 2016, which was announced at the WASH Futures Conference Dinner 2016.  | Source: Civil Society WASH Fund, May 2016 |

First place went to Save the Children – Nudging handwashing among primary school students in BangladeshKamal Hossain from Save the Children Bangladesh was excited to receive the award in person from Anne Joselin, DFAT. Save the Children’s innovation to improve hand-washing in schools uses environmental cues and nudges. handwashing.pngIt is more cost effective than hygiene communication programs and has shown positive results in changing and sustaining behaviour change amongst school children. Watch the winning video here

Second place was awarded to Water for People! in Uganda for their submission, Low cost solutions for Faecal Sludge Management. Water for People! have shown their work innovating at many stages of the sanitation chain, from low cost modular toilet design, pit emptying and faecal sludge treatment and reuse. Their holistic approach to sanitation and faecal sludge management (FSM) are impacting many peoples’ lives, particularly in the slums of Kampala. Watch the video here

Third runner up was Wetlands Work! 
Cambodia for the HandyPod – Sanitation solutions for floating communities in CambodiaThe Handy Pod is a floating toilet design suitable for the communities of the Tonle Sap lake area and uses wetlands treatment technology. Watch the video here.  

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WASHplus – A Surprise Inoculation Against Cholera

A Surprise Inoculation Against Cholera, 2016. WASHplus.

Communities that embraced the WASHplus and Kenya Ministry of Health community-led total sanitation-plus approach appear to have protected themselves against cholera during a recent epidemic.

Using cellphone data to study the spread of cholera

Using cellphone data to study the spread of cholera | Source: Phys.org, May 23 2016 |

While cholera has hardly changed over the past centuries, the tools used to study it have not ceased to evolve. Using mobile phone records of 150,000 users, an EPFL-led study has shown to what extent human mobility patterns contributed to the spread of a cholera epidemic in Senegal in 2005.

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Scanning electron microscope image of V. cholerae. Credit: public domain

The researchers’ findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, highlight the critical role a mass gathering of millions of pilgrims played in spreading of the disease, and how measures to improve sanitation at transmission hotspots could decrease the progression of future outbreaks.

“There is a lot of hype around using big data from mobile phones to study epidemiology,” says senior author Enrico Bertuzzo, from the Ecohydrology Laboratory at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. This is largely due to the fact that can be used to reconstruct, with unprecedented detail, mobility fluxes of an entire population. “But I dare say that this is the first time that such data are exploited to their full potential in an epidemiological model.”

Cholera is an infectious disease that occurs primarily in developing countries with poor sanitation infrastructure. It spreads primarily via water that has been contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, present in the feces of infected people. Human mobility and waterways both contribute to spreading the disease among human communities, whereas heavy precipitation events increase the chances of the bacteria to contaminate sources. Researchers at EPFL have developed a mathematical simulation model that accounts for these factors, which they tested on past outbreaks such as the one in Haiti in 2010.

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WASH & Stunting – open access articles from May 2016 Maternal & Child Nutrition

Maternal & Child Nutrition – Stop Stunting in South Asia. Improving Child Feeding, Women’s Nutrition and Household Sanitation. (This supplement was funded and made open access by UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia) mcn_centre

Selected articles include:

 

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India?

Can collective action strategies motivate behavior change to reduce open defecation in rural India? Waterlines, April 2016.

Authors: Payal Hathi, Dean Spears, Diane Coffey. RICE Institute.

The world’s remaining open defecation is increasingly concentrated in rural India. The Indian government’s efforts to reduce open defecation by providing subsidies for latrine construction have been largely unsuccessful in addressing the problem. It is now clear that behavior change must be the priority if progress on ending open defecation is to be made.

While community-led strategies have proven effective in various developing country contexts, there are serious reasons to question whether similar methods can work in rural India.  Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses, we find that strict social hierarchies that continue to govern daily interactions in rural life today obstruct the spirit of cooperation upon which such methods rely.

Additionally, caste-based notions of purity and pollution make the simple latrines used all over the developing world unattractive to rural Indians.  In a context where people identify most closely with their caste and religious groups rather than their geographical villages, our findings suggest that a more nuanced understanding of the idea of “community” is required.  More experimentation, both with community-led and other strategies, is needed in order to effectively move from open defecation to latrine use in rural India.

UNC and P&G to Provide First Analysis of Environmental Health in Malawi Hospitals

UNC and P&G to Provide First Analysis of Environmental Health in Malawi Hospitals | Source: UNC News, May 15 2016 |

Millions of Malawians seek medical care in the country’s health care facilities each year. Yet, an analysis of the environmental health status in these facilities has never been performed. This summer, baseline measurements will be collected thanks to a partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Procter & Gamble (P&G) through the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program (CSDW).

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Patients being cared for at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Malawi.

“Health facilities should not be places to acquire infection due to lack of clean water, hygiene and sanitation; they should be places for cure,” says Innocent Mofolo, associate country director of UNC Project-Malawi. “WaSH should be part of an integrated approach to health and human development. This assessment will help determine WaSH gaps that exist in most of our health facilities and devise strategies to improve the situation.”

The assessment of 45 health facilities in the northern, central and southern regions of Malawi is being funded by a generous donation from P&G. Data collection will begin in August by researchers from the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and its UNC Project in Malawi and the Water Institute at UNC.

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Chicken coops, sewage treatment plants are hot spots of antibiotic resistance

Chicken coops, sewage treatment plants are hot spots of antibiotic resistance | Source: Eureka Alerts,  May 11 2016 |

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria most often are associated with hospitals and other health-care settings, but a new study indicates that chicken coops and sewage treatment plants also are hot spots of antibiotic resistance.

The research, led by a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is published May 12 in Nature.

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria most often are associated with hospitals and other health-care settings, but a new study indicates that chicken coops and sewage treatment plants also are hot spots of antibiotic resistance. The new study surveyed ecosystems of bacteria and their capacity to resist antibiotics in low-resource communities, including Pampas de San Juan de Miraflores, a densely populated slum outside Lima, Peru. The research, led by a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is published May 12 in Nature. CREDIT: Pablo Tsukayama

The scientists surveyed bacteria and their capacity to resist antibiotics in a rural village in El Salvador and a densely populated slum on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. In both communities, the researchers identified areas ripe for bacteria to shuffle and share their resistance genes. These hot spots of potential resistance transmission included chicken coops in the rural village and a modern wastewater treatment plant outside Lima.

“Bacteria can do this weird thing that we can’t — exchange DNA directly between unrelated organisms,” said senior author Gautam Dantas, PhD, an associate professor of pathology and immunology. “That means it’s relatively easy for disease-causing bacteria that are treatable with antibiotics to become resistant to those antibiotics quickly. If these bacteria happen to come into contact with other microbes that carry resistance genes, those genes can pop over in one step. We estimate that such gene-transfer events are generally rare, but they are more likely to occur in these hot spots we identified.”

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