Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

WASH Benefits studies published in 2016

WASH Benefits Studies Published in 2016 – The WASH Benefits Study provides rigorous evidence on the health and developmental benefits of water quality, sanitation, handwashing, and nutritional interventions during the first years of life. The study includes two, cluster-randomized controlled trials to measure the impact of intervention among newborn infants in rural Bangladesh and Kenya. The studies are large in scope (> 5,000 newborns per country) and will measure primary outcomes after two years of intervention.

December 2016 – Adapting and Evaluating a Rapid, Low-Cost Method to Enumerate Flies in the Household Setting. Marlene K. Wolfe, Holly N. Dentz, Beryl Achando, MaryAnne Mureithi, Tim Wolfe, Clair Null, Amy J. Pickering. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2016 16-0162.

October 2016 – Occurrence of Host-Associated Fecal Markers on Child Hands, Household Soil, and Drinking Water in Rural Bangladeshi Households. Alexandria B. Boehm, Dan Wang, Ayse Ercumen, Meghan Shea, Angela R. Harris, Orin C. Shanks, Catherine Kelty, Alvee Ahmed, Zahid Hayat Mahmud, Benjamin F. Arnold, Claire Chase, Craig Kullmann, John M. Colford Jr., Stephen P. Luby, and Amy J. Pickering. Publication Date (Web): October 13, 2016. Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett.  DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00382.

June 2016 – Towards a Scalable and Sustainable Intervention for Complementary Food Safety.  Rahman MJ, Nizame FA, Nuruzzaman M, Akand F, Islam MA, Parvez SM, Stewart CP, Unicomb L, Luby SP, Winch PJ. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2016 Jun;37(2):186-201.

June 2016 – Hygiene Practices During Food Preparation in Rural Bangladesh: Opportunities to Improve the Impact of Handwashing Interventions. Fosiul A. Nizame, Elli Leontsini, Stephen P. Luby, Md. Nuruzzaman, Shahana Parveen, Peter J. Winch, Pavani K. Ram, Leanne Unicomb. Published online June 13, 2016, doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.15-0377. Am J Trop Med Hyg 2016 vol. 95 no. 2 288-297.

June 2016 – Soil-Transmitted Helminth Eggs Are Present in Soil at Multiple Locations within Households in Rural Kenya. Lauren Steinbaum, Sammy M. Njenga, Jimmy Kihara, Alexandria B. Boehm, Jennifer Davis, Clair Null, Amy J. Pickering. PLOS ONE, Published: June 24, 2016.

June 2016 – Hand- and Object-Mouthing of Rural Bangladeshi Children 3–18 Months Old. Kwong LH, Ercumen A, Pickering AJ, Unicomb L, Davis J, Luby SP. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Jun 4;13(6).

May 2016 – Vitamin B-12 Concentrations in Breast Milk Are Low and Are Not Associated with Reported Household Hunger, Recent Animal-Source Food, or Vitamin B-12 Intake in Women in Rural Kenya. Williams AM, Chantry CJ, Young SL, Achando BS, Allen LH, Arnold BF, Colford JM Jr, Dentz HN, Hampel D, Kiprotich MC, Lin A, Null CA,Nyambane GM, Shahab-Ferdows S, Stewart CP. J Nutr. 2016 May;146(5):1125-31.

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school

Oxford researchers say African girls need just two things to stay in school. Quartz, December 21, 2016.

Social scientists and educators have experimented with many ways to incentivize girls from low-income backgrounds in developing countries to stay in school including providing lunch, bicycles, and toiletsschools

While there has been considerable improvement in getting girls to enroll in primary schools, it’s proven harder to keep school attendance up in higher grades. In Uganda, 91% girls are enrolled in primary schools, but that figure falls to 22% for secondary schools.

Now a new study led by Paul Montgomery, a professor of psychosocial intervention at Oxford University, shows that there’s a pretty simple way to boost secondary school attendance in girls in Africa: give them sanitary pads and lessons on puberty.

The new paper, published Dec. 21 in PLOS One, builds on a 2008 pilot study in Ghana, also carried out by Oxford researchers, which showed that the first instance of menstruation triggered a drop in school attendance for young girls. The researchers note that in several developing countries, there is a stigma attached to menstruation and that girls are seen as “dirty” while on their period—one of the main reasons they stay home from school at the time. It’s also often difficult for girls in rural areas to find sanitary pads; many rely on absorbent cloth, which can leak and stain school uniforms.

Read the complete article.

The social life of infectious diseases

The social life of infectious diseases.STEPS Impact Stories, December 7, 2016.

This story looks at how the ESRC STEPS Centre’s research on epidemics fed into responses to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and the need for long-term work across disciplines to respond to infectious diseases. It is the first in a set of impact stories looking back at STEPS work over the past decade.

The Ebola epidemic that broke out in 2014 was the first to hit West Africa, and the worst ever recorded. Most of the cases were in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. By October the disease had killed nearly 5,000 people.

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Health promotion, by CDC Global (published on Flickr under a Creative Commons attribution 2.0 licence)

As the outbreak grew, more and more agencies in the region and beyond joined the fight against it. Attention also turned to the dynamics of the outbreak, how best to prevent its spread, and how to treat people safely and effectively in urgent and sometimes chaotic conditions. As well as fighting the disease on the ground, it was important to understand the reasons behind its spread, and the social and cultural responses to it.

What went wrong with Ebola?
Why did the Ebola outbreak get as bad as it did, and what can we learn from the response? The scale and speed of the outbreak was put down to weak health systems, a lack of resources, and fear. But there were other factors too. It became clear that violence in the region had left a deep legacy of mistrust in the population, leading to rumours and suspicion of health workers. Changing patterns of migration may also have led people to be more at risk.

Read the complete article.

The Sanitation-Education Connection: What’s a toilet worth in Kenya?

Published on Nov 19, 2016

Sanitation is a critical, yet often overlooked fundamental human right. This documentary, first in a series, broadly describes the worth of the sanitation-education connection in one area of Kenya, by defining its challenges and presenting solutions.

Water may be life, but the quality of our lives is determined in part by our health and wellbeing. It may be surprising to many of us, but in countries like Kenya, health is largely affected by access to toilets. Sanitation is a critical, yet often overlooked fundamental human right. Globally 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation. The resulting health risks touch all ages and affect every aspect of life: education included. Impacts reverberate through economies and generations as individuals fail to meet their full potential. Unfortunately sanitation is generally not a topic of common conversation nor is it often an economic priority. It becomes then, a silent emergency.

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Slum health is not urban health: why we must distinguish between the two

Slum health is not urban health: why we must distinguish between the two. Catch News, December 19, 2016.

slum-lead-gettyimages-533782708

Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

We live in an urban century. Already more than 50% of the global population lives in urban areas. The United Nations estimates that by 2030 five billion of the world’s population of eight billion will be urban. Most of the growth in urban areas is expected to occur in the developing countries of Africa and Asia, continuing a trend seen in the past decade.

Rapid urbanisation in developing countries has been characterised by an accompanying proliferation of slum areas. Cities such as Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are home to some of the world’s largest slum areas. Sub-Saharan Africa has an especially high number of slum inhabitants: 62% of its urban population lives in slums.

Slums constitute a large part of today’s urban reality and will likely persist as a significant feature in our urban future for decades to come. By 2030, projections indicate that two billion of the global urban population will live in slums, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Despite increased global awareness about the presence and persistence of slums, the health of their inhabitants is a little-studied phenomenon. The health of the urban poor, people with low socio-economic status living in urban areas, is usually conflated with that of slum dwellers. However, health outcomes for these two groups of urban populations often differ given the spatial differences of the areas they live in.

Read the complete article.

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation

Higher incidents of rape in India linked to open defecation: Study. Indian Express, December 15, 2016.

According to the study, women who use open defecation sites are twice as likely to get raped compared to women using a home toilet. 

open-defecation-l

The researchers looked at the latest Indian National Family Health Survey data and analysed a nationally representative sample of 75,000 women to answer questions about access to a home toilet and their exposure to different types of violence.

Women in India who use open defecation are prone to sexual violence and infrastructure improvements can provide them with some level of protection, a US university researcher has said. “Open defecation places women at uniquely higher risk of one type of sexual violence: non-partner,” says Approva Jadhav from the University of Michigan in a research paper published in the latest issue of Bio-Med Central Journal.

“Women who use open defecation sites like open fields or the side of a railway track are twice as likely to get raped when compared with women using a home toilet,” the study says. The research results, which suggest that women who use open defecation have twice the odds of non-partner sexual violence (NPSV) than women who use household toilets, indicate that infrastructure improvements can provide women with some level of protection against NPSV, it says.

“Our findings provide further rationale for NGOs and the Indian government to expand sanitation programmes, and raise new questions about the potentially protective role of sanitation facilities in other contexts beyond India,” the paper says.

Read the complete article.

A Photographer’s Journey Into Haiti’s Cholera Crisis – National Geographic

A Photographer’s Journey Into Haiti’s Cholera Crisis. National Geographic, December 13, 2016.

After Hurricane Matthew hit, a silent killer struck the fragile country—again

The same rains that were spreading cholera across southern Haiti were blocking Andrea Bruce from getting to the story.

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The Elise Adventure Morija Church was completely swept away during Hurricane Matthew. Residents still hold services under a tent on the church’s foundation.

The National Geographic photographer had arrived a few weeks after Hurricane Matthew struck the island in October to document a new surge of cholera cases spreading across some of the country’s most remote areas.

When Bruce reached the mountainous epicenter of the cholera crisis, a town called Rendel, she found crumbled homes, some with just a door frame or a single piece of furniture left standing. Residents were scrapping together small shacks from the rubble.

Read the complete article.