Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya – Global Waters

WASH is a Key Ingredient in Tackling Poverty in Kenya. Global Waters, March 2017.

Picture a rural household in Kisumu, Kenya. Kale, cowpeas, tomatoes, and butternut grow in a kitchen garden fed by a drip irrigation system. Children help harvest these vegetables for the stew that complements their family’s diet, formally reliant on maize and sorghum. A handwashing station adjacent to the cooking hut and the improved latrine remind family members to wash with soap at critical times.

kenya

A farmer works in a greenhouse at a KIWASH-supported agriculture and nutrition demonstration farm in the largest health facility in Kisumu county. Photo Credit: Eric Onyiego, USAID KIWASH

Thanks to a new community solar-powered borehole, the family is no longer solely dependent on what the rain provides for drinking water. The family garden produces more food than is needed, and the remainder is sold to provide additional income.

Unlike millions of Kenyans, this family is overcoming the cycle of food insecurity, diarrheal disease, malnutrition, and poverty with the support of USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project.

Working to improve the lives and health of one million Kenyans in nine counties, the five-year project (2015–2020) focuses on the development and management of sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services and increased access to irrigation and nutrition services.

Read the complete article.

July to December 2016 Handwashing Research Summary – GHP

July to December 2016 Handwashing Research Summary, March 2017. Global Handwashing Partnership.

Between July and December 2016, we identified 37 relevant peer-reviewed studies on handwashing.

Learn about key findings during this time period in this handwashing research summary from the second half of 2016.

WHO – March 2017 fact sheets

WASH related fact sheets from WHO in March 2017

  • Taeniasis/cysticercosis – Human tapeworm carriers excrete tapeworm eggs in their faeces and contaminate the environment when they defecate in open areas. Humans can also become infected with T. solium eggs by ingesting contaminated food or water or as a result of poor hygiene. T. solium is the cause of 30% of epilepsy cases in many endemic areas where people and roaming pigs live in close proximity.
  • Lymphatic filariasis – Lymphatic filariasis is transmitted by different types of mosquitoes for example by the Culex mosquito, widespread across urban and semi-urban areas, Anopheles, mainly found in rural areas, and Aedes, mainly in endemic islands in the Pacific.
  • Echinococcosis – Human echinococcosis is a parasitic disease caused by tapeworms of the genus Echinococcus. Humans are infected through ingestion of parasite eggs in contaminated food, water or soil, or through direct contact with animal hosts.
  • Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) – Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi).

Others

Death-trap toilets: the hidden dangers of Mumbai’s poorest slums

Death-trap toilets: the hidden dangers of Mumbai’s poorest slums. The Guardian, February 27, 2017.

Poorly-constructed toilet blocks have led to the deaths of seven people in three months, but politicians are yet to act on their promises for change 

mumbai

In Mumbai slums, 78% of community toilets lack water supply, 58% have no electricity and many don’t have proper doors. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

On the morning of 4 February, Harish Tikedar, Ganesh Soni, and Mohammed Isafil Ansari waited in a queue to use the community toilet in the Indira Nagar slum in eastern Mumbai. All of a sudden the floor collapsed, plunging Tikedar, Soni and Ansari into the septic tank 15-feet below.

Two others who also fell – Sirajjudin Turat and Ramakant Kanojia – managed to hold on to the sides until they were rescued.

“I was submerged up to my shoulders in the slush,” says Turat. “I could feel it pulling me down but somehow held on to a slab. Then some people pulled me up and I passed out.”

The five men who were pulled out were unrecognisable, covered in faeces. They were all taken to a nearby hospital but Tikedar, Soni and Ansari did not survive.

In Mumbai’s slums, the simple act of relieving oneself is fraught with danger, especially in the slums of M-East ward where population density is high, and the few public amenities are crumbling.

M-East is the poorest and most deficient in civic services of Mumbai’s 24 administrative wards. It has expanded over the last 15 years but has remained on the periphery of the city’s consciousness and governance systems. The differences between the civic amenities available in the smattering of middle-class apartment blocks and the slums, which dominate M-East, are stark.

Read the complete article.

Environmental Pollution Kills 1.7 Million Children Under Five Every Year

Environmental Pollution Kills 1.7 Million Children Under Five Every Year. Voice of America, March 6, 2017.

airpollution

FILE – People wear protective masks near the Bund during a polluted day in Shanghai, China, Jan. 19, 2016.

Environmental pollution kills more than 1 in 4 children under the age of five every year – that’s 1.7 million children worldwide.

The World Health Organization warns these child deaths will increase dramatically if action is not taken to reduce environmental risks.

WHO examines the impact of harmful environments on children’s health and offers solutions in two new studies, “Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment” and a companion report, “Don’t pollute my future! The impact of the environment on children’s health.”

The authors agree that air pollution is the biggest killer and is responsible for 6.5 million premature deaths every year, including nearly 600,000 deaths among children under age five.

Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, notes that young children are most at risk of dying from a polluted environment because of “their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways.”

While most of these child deaths occur in developing countries, Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health told VOA that air pollution was a big leveler between rich and poor countries.

“You can be a very rich child, your parents very rich, but living in a place, in a city, which is very polluted-then there is very little you can do because we all need to breathe.

“So, even if you are rich or poor, you still need to breathe and this is very pernicious. Air pollution is everywhere,” she said.

WHO reports the most common causes of death among children aged one month to five years are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia.

“These are very much affected by air pollution, water and sanitation, which is inadequate, but also the disease vectors, mosquitos around the house and the community,” said Annette Pruss-Ustun, scientist in WHO’s Public Health and Environmental Department.

Read the complete article.

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.

ebola

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.

The Role of WASH in Healthcare Settings to Reduce Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance

The Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Healthcare Settings to Reduce Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance. Antimicrobial Resistance Control, July 2016.

This article by USAID’s Rochelle Rainey and Merri Weinger concludes that antimicrobial resistance is a multisectoral problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including WASH improvements, to prevent emergence and transmission.

The lack of safe water, functional toilets, and handwashing facilities in healthcare settings poses significant health risks to patients, healthcare workers and nearby communities. The ongoing global problem of health facility-acquired infections (HAI) has highlighted the consequences of the lack of water and sanitation facilities and practice of key hygiene behaviours.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a multisectoral problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including WASH improvements, to prevent emergence and transmission. Hand hygiene has been cited as the single most important practice to reduce HAI, and improved hand hygiene practices have been associated with a sustained decrease in the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant infections in healthcare settings.

WASH also plays a role in the cleaning of surfaces and bedding for preventing transmission of HAI. Leadership and commitment is needed from governments, international and local organizations, donors and civil society to implement the global action plan to achieve universal access to WASH in healthcare facilities.