Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

Policy Note: Should Public Toilets Be Part of Urban Sanitation Solutions for Poor Families Living in Slums?

Policy Note: Should Public Toilets Be Part of Urban Sanitation Solutions for Poor Families Living in Slums? April 2016. Emory University’s Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.

Although households would prefer to have private facilities, conditions suggest that shared public toilets will, for the foreseeable future, continue to be the main available option for defecation in the slums of Accra. In this context, efforts are needed to improve existing and new public toilets to make them hygienic and safely managed in order to provide sanitation services that result in public health benefits.

Since public toilets do not meet the JMP criteria for an improved toilet, they also do not meet current government of Ghana standards. This in turn creates a disincentive for local governments to invest in public toilets and related safe management of the fecal sludge as part of their urban sanitation services.

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USAID Ethiopia Water Fact Sheet

USAID Ethiopia Water Fact Sheet, March 2016. USAID Ethiopia.

Water cuts across nearly every aspect of USAID programming. Used for drinking, hygiene, and health care, water is also needed to irrigate crops, feed livestock and develop renewable energy. Scarce water supplies can become potential sources of conflict.

USAID incorporates WASH activities within its governance, health, nutrition, resilience and emergency assistance activities with a focus on sustainability. USAID also helps strengthen the Ethiopian Government’s capacity to coordinate WASH and water resource management.

 

Contaminated water may have killed 3 U.S. Presidents

How the White House might have killed these three presidents in the 1840s | Source: The Raw Story, April 28 2016 |

President William Henry Harrison gave the longest inaugural address in history, speaking outside in a cold Washington, D.C. snowstorm for an hour and 45 minutes. He died not long after from what people say was pneumonia brought on by the cold he caught while giving the address.

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Presidents Harrison, Taylor and Polk (Photo: Wikipedia)

Now some researchers at the National Institute of Health say that Harrison may not have died from pneumonia after all. In fact, Harrison along with Presidents James Polk and Zachary Taylor all may have died unexpectedly from typhoid in the 1840s due to contaminated water in the White House.

Both Harrison and Taylor died in office and Polk died not long after leaving office. According to the research, Harrison’s own doctor disputed the pneumonia diagnosis in his well-documented medical journals Business News Insider outlined in a video.

Read the complete article.

Endemicity of Zoonotic Diseases in Pigs and Humans in Lowland and Upland Lao PDR: Identification of Socio-cultural Risk Factors

Endemicity of Zoonotic Diseases in Pigs and Humans in Lowland and Upland Lao PDR: Identification of Socio-cultural Risk Factors. PLoS Neg Trop Dis, April 2016. Authors: Hannah R. Holt , Phouth Inthavong, et al.

In Lao PDR, pigs are an important source of food and income and are kept by many rural residents. This study investigated five diseases that are transmitted between pigs and humans (zoonoses), namely hepatitis E, Japanese encephalitis, trichinellosis, cysticercosis and taeniasis. Humans and pigs in Lao PDR were tested for antibodies against the agents (pathogens) responsible for these diseases. Human participants were classified into three groups or “clusters” based on hygiene and sanitation practices, pig contact and pork consumption.

Cluster 1 had low pig contact and good hygiene practice. Cluster 2 had moderate hygiene practices: around half used toilets and protected water sources; most people washed their hands after using the toilet and boiled water prior to consumption. Most people in this cluster were involved in pig slaughtering, drank pigs’ blood and were more likely test positive for antibodies against hepatitis E and Japanese encephalitis viruses. Finally, people in cluster 3 had lowest access to sanitation facilities, were most likely to have pigs in the household and had the highest risk of hepatitis E, taeniasis and cysticercosis.

The diseases in this study pose a significant threat to public health and impact pig production. This study identified characteristics of high-risk individuals and areas with high disease burden and could be used to target future disease control activities to those most vulnerable.

 

SuSanA discussion – The conceptual framework of under-nutrition

SuSanA discussion – The conceptual framework of under-nutrition. There are several interesting posts in this discussion forum about under-nutrition.

The first post discusses “What are the main causes of under-nutrition?” conceptualframework.png

The determinants of under-nutrition are complex and nutritional status is dependent on a wide range of diverse and interconnected factors. At the most immediate level, under-nutrition is the outcome of inadequate dietary intake and repeated infectious diseases.

The underlying causes include food insecurity, inappropriate care practices, poor health sector performance and unsafe environment including access to water, sanitation and hygiene. All these factors result in increased vulnerability to shocks and long term stresses.

The basic determinants of under-nutrition are rooted in poverty and involve interactions between social, political, demographic, and societal conditions. (below: Conceptual framework of undernutrition; ACF (2012) “The Essential: Nutrition and Health” adapted from UNICEF 1990))

 

Ruminants contribute fecal contamination to the urban household environment in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Ruminants contribute fecal contamination to the urban household environment in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Env Sci Tech, April 2016. Authors: Angela Harris, Amy Janel Pickering, et al.

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the sensitivity and specificity of three human, three ruminant, and one avian source-associated QPCR microbial source tracking assays were evaluated using fecal samples collected on site. Ruminant-associated assays performed well, while the avian and human assays exhibited unacceptable cross-reactions with feces from other hosts.

Subsequently, child hand rinses (n=44) and floor sponge samples (n=44) from low income-households in Dhaka were assayed for fecal indicator bacteria (enterococci, Bacteroidales, and Escherichia coli) and a ruminant-associated bacterial target (BacR). Mean enterococci concentrations were of 100 most probable number (MPN)/2 hands and 1000 MPN/225 cm2 floor. Mean concentrations of Bacteroidales were 106 copies/2 hands and 105 copies/225 cm2 floor. E. coli were detected in a quarter of hand rinse and floor samples. BacR was detected in 18% of hand rinse and 27% of floor samples.

Results suggest that effective household fecal management should account not only for human sources of contamination but also for animal sources. The poor performance of the human-associated assays in the study area calls into the question the feasibility of developing a human-associated marker in urban slum environments, where domestic animals are exposed to human feces that have been disposed in pits and open drains.

 

PPPHW – The State of Handwashing in 2015

The State of Handwashing in 2015. Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing.

In this summary, we outline key themes and findings from 44 peer-reviewed handwashing-related research papers published globally in 2015 and specifically relevant in low and middle-income countries. handwashing

These findings can be categorized by five key themes:

  • Benefits of handwashing with soap
  • Measuring handwashing behavior
  • Approaches to handwashing behavior change
  • Handwashing station sustainability
  • Handwashing in the emergency setting