Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2016

World Hepatitis Day, 28 July 2016

WHO encourages countries to act now to reduce deaths from viral hepatitis

WHO urges countries to take rapid action to improve knowledge about hepatitis, and to increase access to testing and treatment services. Today, only 1 in 20 people with hepatitis know they have it. And just 1 in 100 with the disease is being treated. JESS3_WHO_WHD16_Final_English-v1

“The world has ignored hepatitis at its peril,” said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “It is time to mobilize a global response to hepatitis on the scale similar to that generated to fight other like HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.”

WHO – Trachoma fact sheet

Trachoma Fact sheet, July 2016. WHO

Key facts

  • Trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by infection with the bacteriumChlamydia trachomatis.
  • It is known to be a public health problem in 42 countries, and is responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9 million people. Just over 200 million people live in trachoma endemic areas and are at risk of trachoma blindness.
  • Blindness from trachoma is irreversible.
  • Infection spreads through personal contact (via hands, clothes or bedding) and by flies that have been in contact with discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected person. With repeated episodes of infection over many years, the eyelashes may be drawn in so that they rub on the surface of the eye, with pain and discomfort and permanent damage to the cornea.
  • Resolution WHA51.11 adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1998 targets the global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem by 2020.
  • The elimination strategy is encapsulated by the acronym “SAFE”: Surgery for advanced disease, Antibiotics to clear C. trachomatis infection, and Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement to reduce transmission.
  • In 2015, more than 185 000 people received surgical treatment for advanced disease, and 56 million people were treated with antibiotics for trachoma.

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. It is caused by an obligate intracellular bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. The infection is transmitted through contact with eye and nose discharge of infected people, particularly young children who harbour the principal reservoir of infection. It is also spread by flies which have been in contact with the eyes and noses of infected people.

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The 10 Most Innovative Health Technologies Saving Millions In The Developing World

The 10 Most Innovative Health Technologies Saving Millions In The Developing World | Source: Medical Futurist, July 19, 2016 |

There are striking differences in the general social, economic or political background of the developed and developing country-groups, and developing countries are in dire need for creative and innovative medical solutions. Here are the 10 most innovative health technologies which could save millions of lives in these corners of the Earth. 102213836-padeducation1.530x298

Featured in this article are innovations on the manufacture of sanitary pads and water purification.

Read the complete article.

Sustainable Sanitation for All: Experiences, challenges, and innovations

Sustainable Sanitation for All: Experiences, challenges, and innovations, June 2016. Practical Action.

Great strides have been made in improving sanitation in many developing countries. Yet, 2.4 billion people worldwide still lack access to adequate sanitation facilities and the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are often not reached and their specific needs are not met. sanitation

Moreover, sustainability is currently one of the key challenges in CLTS and wider WASH practice, subsuming issues such as behaviour change, equity and inclusion, physical sustainability and sanitation marketing, monitoring and verification, engagement of governments, NGOs and donors, particularly after open defecation free (ODF) status is reached, and more.

Achievement of ODF status is now recognised as only the first stage in a long process of change and sanitation improvement, with new challenges emerging every step of the way, such as how to stimulate progress up the sanitation ladder, how to ensure the poorest and marginalised are reached, or how to maintain and embed behaviour change.

There have been several useful studies on sustainability that have highlighted some of these different aspects as well as the complexities involved. This book develops these key themes by exploring current experience, practices, challenges, innovations and insights, as well as identifying a future research agenda and gaps in current knowledge.

Describing the landscape of sustainability of CLTS and sanitation with reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and through examples from Africa and Asia, the book captures a range of experiences and innovations from a broad range of institutions and actors within the WASH sector, and attempts to make recommendations and practical suggestions for policy and practice for practitioners, funders, policy-makers and governments.

India – 328 children below 5 die of diarrhoea daily

India – 328 children below 5 die of diarrhoea daily | Source: Times of India, July 11 2016 |

NEW DELHI: Around 328 children under 5 years of age die of diarrhoea every day, latest assessment by the health ministry shows. This has prompted the ministry to intensify its diarrhoea control programme to reach out to over 10 crore children with ORS solution this year from 6.3 crore last year.

Estimates show that over 1.2 lakh children less than five years of age succumb to diarrhoea every year. The primary reasons for diarrhoeal attacks among children are contaminated water and food, malnutrition, inadequate sanitation and lack of immunization. Diarrhoeal deaths are usually clustered in summer and monsoon months

Read the complete article.

Nudging and Habit Change for Open Defecation: New Tactics from Behavioral Science

Nudging and Habit Change for Open Defecation: New Tactics from Behavioral Science, March 2016. 

Authors: David Neal, Ph.D. (Catalyst), Jelena Vujcic, M.P.H. (Catalyst), Rachel Burns Ph.D. (Catalyst), Wendy Wood, Ph.D. (University of Southern California) and Jacqueline Devine, MBA (World Bank, Water and Sanitation Program)

In this working paper, we draw on basic scientifc fndings from psychology, cognitive science, and behavioral economics to propose a framework of 8 System 1 Principles to support the initiation and maintenance of OD behavior change.

In doing so, we build from the general framework advanced in the World Bank Group’s (2015) World Development Report: Mind, Society, and Behavior, which emphasized three core insights from behavioral science, namely that people think (a) automatically, (b) socially and (c) using mental models that channel their decision-making.

 

Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern: UNEP Frontiers 2016 Report

Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern: UNEP Frontiers 2016 Report, 2016. UNEP.

The UNEP Frontiers 2016 edition presents six emerging issues. It highlights, for example, that the global significance of the financial sector should not confine itself only to enhancing global economic growth, but also to advancing environmental sustainability. The financial sector has a crucial role to play in investing in new low-carbon, resource efficient and environmentally sound assets, and shifting capital away from traditional assets that have high impacts on the environment. The report presents a number of emerging financial initiatives led by the financial sector as innovative solutions to sustainability challenges.

There is a worldwide increase in disease emergence and epidemics particularly from zoonoses – diseases that can be passed on between animals and humans. The report illustrates how the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic diseases are closely interlinked with the health of ecosystems. The risk of disease emergence and amplification increases with the intensification of human activities surrounding and encroaching into natural habitats, enabling pathogens in wildlife reservoirs to spill over to livestock and humans.

The recent years have seen a growing presence of plastic pollution in the aquatic environment, particularly in form of microplastics. While stakeholders are increasing their efforts to reduce the use of microplastics through innovative approaches and policy change, the scientific community is racing to understand the level of exposure and physiological impacts of microplastic contaminants on various organisms, as well as the risk to human health through consumption of contaminated food.

The UNEP Frontiers report also highlights two critical issues associated with climate change. The issue of loss and damage to ecosystems due to changing climate has risen to global attention in recent years, and has led to the establishment of the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage associated with climate change impacts. The report introduces a number of case studies on recent sudden- and slow-onset events that have caused losses and damages to ecosystems and human systems, and presents a range of risk management tools needed to avoid harm.