Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

DefeatDD: Superheroes vs. Villains

Published on Aug 29, 2016

Superheroes and villains face off in the battle to DefeatDD! With their powers combined, Nutrition, Vaccines, WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene), and ORS + Zinc help children, families, and communities conquer the biggest bugs terrorizing towns and sickening kids with diarrhea—Rotavirus, ETEC, Shigella, and Cryptosporidium.

Learn more at


Who Delivers without Water? A Multi Country Analysis of Water and Sanitation in the Childbirth Environment

Who Delivers without Water? A Multi Country Analysis of Water and Sanitation in the Childbirth Environment. PLoS One, Aug 2016.

Authors: Giorgia Gon, María Clara Restrepo-Méndez, et. al.

Background and Objectives – Hygiene during childbirth is essential to the health of mothers and newborns, irrespective of where birth takes place. This paper investigates the status of water and sanitation in both the home and facility childbirth environments, and for whom and where this is a more significant problem.

Methods – We used three datasets: a global dataset, with information on the home environment from 58 countries, and two datasets for each of four countries in Eastern Africa: a healthcare facility dataset, and a dataset that incorporated information on facilities and the home environment to create a comprehensive description of birth environments in those countries. We constructed indices of improved water, and improved water and sanitation combined (WATSAN), for the home and healthcare facilities. The Joint Monitoring Program was used to construct indices for household; we tailored them to the facility context–household and facility indices include different components. We described what proportion of women delivered in an environment with improved WATSAN. For those women who delivered at home, we calculated what proportion had improved WATSAN by socio-economic status, education and rural-urban status.

Results – Among women delivering at home (58 countries), coverage of improved WATSAN by region varied from 9% to 53%. Fewer than 15% of women who delivered at home in Sub-Saharan Africa, had access to water and sanitation infrastructure (range 0.1% to 37%). This was worse among the poorest, the less educated and those living in rural areas. In Eastern Africa, where we looked at both the home and facility childbirth environment, a third of women delivered in an environment with improved water in Uganda and Rwanda; whereas, 18% of women in Kenya and 7% in Tanzania delivered with improved water and sanitation. Across the four countries, less than half of the facility deliveries had improved water, or improved water and sanitation in the childbirth environment.

Conclusions – Access to water and sanitation during childbirth is poor across low and middle-income countries. Even when women travel to health facilities for childbirth, they are not guaranteed access to basic WATSAN infrastructure. These indicators should be measured routinely in order to inform improvements.



The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) at the World Water Week 2016 in Stockholm

The World Water Week 2016 in Stockholm is lying ahead and the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) will be Co-Convener of several exciting events related to WASH and Sustainable Sanitation. Moreover, the 22nd SuSanA Meeting (27th of August) as well as several SuSanA Working Group Meetings will take place during the SWWW. Make sure to take a look at the official SWWW SuSanA Flyer (link below) to find out more about the event topics and their schedule.

Apart from the events themselves the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance will be hosting an official SuSanA Booth (Booth No. 44) where you can have interesting conversations on the topic or simply read through some of the latest SuSanA publications.

For all people that are interested but not able to join the SWWW there will be a Live Stream of the SuSanA events as well as live Twitter updates using the hashtag #22susana

If you want to register for the SuSanA events at the SWWW you can find the registration link as well as more information here:

Lastly, if you have any questions or comments you can post them on the SuSanA Forum (after registration):



U.N. Admits Role In Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Has Killed Thousands

U.N. Admits Role In Haiti Cholera Outbreak That Has Killed Thousands | Source: NPR, Aug 18 2016 |

In the fall of 2010, months after a devastating earthquake struck Haiti, a new disaster began: a cholera outbreak that killed thousands of people and continues to sicken people across the country.


Cholera patients are treated at the Cholera Treatment Center in the Carrefour area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in December 2014. The Caribbean country’s cholera outbreak started in 2010. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Experts determined that the source of the disease was a U.N. peacekeeping camp. And now, nearly six years later, the United Nations has admitted it played some role in the deadly outbreak.

At a briefing Thursday, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said that over the course of the past year, “the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.”

He said the U.N. would announce new actions to address the issue within the next two months.

“Our legal position on this issue has not changed,” Haq said, adding that the U.N. was not describing any of its actions as “reparations.”

Read the complete article.



I get height with a little help from my friends: herd protection from sanitation on child growth in rural Ecuador

I get height with a little help from my friends: herd protection from sanitation on child growth in rural EcuadorInt. J. Epidemiol. (2016), doi: 10.1093/ije/dyv368, First published online: March 2, 2016.

Background: Infectious disease interventions, such as vaccines and bed nets, have the potential to provide herd protection to non-recipients. Similarly, improved sanitation in one household may provide community-wide benefits if it reduces contamination in the shared environment. Sanitation at the household level is an important predictor of child growth, but less is known about the effect of sanitation coverage in the community.

Methods: From 2008 to 2013, we took repeated anthropometric measurements on 1314 children under 5 years of age in 24 rural Ecuadorian villages. Using mixed effects regression, we estimated the association between sanitation coverage in surrounding households and child growth.

Results: Sanitation coverage in the surrounding households was strongly associated with child height, as those with 100% coverage in their surroundings had a 67% lower prevalence of stunting [prevalence ratio (PR) 0.32, 95% CI 0.15-0.69] compared with those with 0% coverage. Children from households with improved sanitation had a lower prevalence of stunting (PR 0.86, 95% CI 0.64-1.15). When analysing height as a continuous outcome, the protective effect of sanitation coverage is manifested primarily among girls during the second year of life, the time at which growth faltering is most likely to occur.

Conclusions: Our study highlights that a household’s sanitation practices can provide herd protection to the overall community. Studies which fail to account for the positive externalities that sanitation provides will underestimate the overall protective effect. Future studies could seek to identify a threshold of sanitation coverage, similar to a herd immunity threshold, to provide coverage and compliance targets.


John Oldfield: How to Get Ahead of Zika – and the Next One

How to Get Ahead of Zika – and the Next One | Source: OOSKAnews Voices, Aug 16 2016 |

At a recent forum on global development in Washington DC, the United States Deputy Homeland Security Advisor asserted that the U.S. government cannot merely react or respond to Zika. She is right. The U.S. and the entire global community must find ways to get ahead of its spread, and look for opportunities to prevent, or at least mitigate the severity of, the next such water-related infectious disease.

John Oldfield website pic

John Oldfield, CEO of Water 2017

Increased focus on global water security provides such an opportunity.

In 2012, the United States intelligence community produced an Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security. The report asserts that “during the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems — shortages, poor water quality, or floods — that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important US policy objectives.”

Water scarcity leads to water hoarding, and families often hoard water in such a way as to facilitate the breeding of mosquitoes. More mosquitoes may lead to a more rapid transmission of Zika, malaria and the next water-related infectious disease. Importantly, as this progression holds true, so does its inverse. Headlines scream that water will cause wars, but the opposite has historically held true. Water brings parties together before conflict erupts. Headlines declare that unsafe water kills millions of people each year. What they don’t say is that safe water (and proper disposal of human waste) keeps billions alive, healthy, and in school or at work.

We can predict the future of water. We know when and where water scarcity will occur with increasingly accurate, granular, and long-term forecasts, even accounting for a changing climate and population growth and movement. Donor and developing country governments along with private sector stakeholders should combine this stronger forecasting ability with deployable assets – people, technology, money – to:

  • identify shared river basins where a lack of institutional capacity is likely to lead to conflict over water resources, then strengthen the capacity of those riparian states and subnational stakeholders to prevent conflict;

Read the complete article.

Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal

Take responsibility for electronic-waste disposal. Nature, August 2016.

International cooperation is needed to stop developed nations simply offloading defunct electronics on developing countries, argue Zhaohua Wang, Bin Zhang and Dabo Guan.

The world is producing ever more electrical and electronic waste. The quantity of dumped computers, telephones, televisions and appliances doubled between 2009 and 2014, to 42 million tonnes per year globally.

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Jie Zhao/Corbis/Getty. An electronic-waste recycling factory in Hubei, China.

Developed countries, especially in North America and Europe, produce the most e-waste (see ‘Unfair flow’). The United States generates the largest amount, and China the second most.

Much of this waste ends up in the developing world, where regulation is lax. China processed about 70% of the world’s e-waste in 2012; the rest goes to India and other countries in eastern Asia and Africa, including Nigeria. Non-toxic components — such as iron, steel, copper and gold — are valuable, so are more frequently recycled than toxic ones. Disposal plants release toxic materials, volatile organic chemicals and heavy metals, which can harm the environment and human health.

Lead levels sampled in the blood of children in the e-waste-processing town of Guiyu, China, were on average three times the safe limit recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention6. In California, peregrine falcons have been threatened — polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which are widely used as flame-retardants in electronics, have been discovered in their eggs.

A global approach to managing the volume and flow of e-waste is urgently needed. This requires: an international protocol on e-waste; funding for technology transfer; firmer national legislation on imports and exports; and greater awareness of the problem among consumers. Researchers and regulators should build a global e-waste flow system that covers the whole life cycle of electrical goods, including production, usage, disposal, recovery and remanufacturing.

Beyond better recycling, the ultimate aim should be a circular economy of cleaner production and less wasteful consumption, including the embrace of a sharing economy and cloud-based technologies with smaller material footprints. As the world’s largest producer of electronic goods and recipient of the most e-waste, China should take the lead.