Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

Childhood stunting can cut future earnings by up to a quarter

Childhood stunting can cut future earnings by up to a quarter | Fox News, Oct 5 2016 |

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Some 250 million children worldwide risk not reaching their full potential due to extreme poverty and stunting, cutting their future earnings by up to 26 percent and seriously impacting national growth, scientists said on Tuesday.


A boy takes a nap on a street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 24, 2016. (REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares)

The failure to invest in early child development is costing some low and middle income countries two to three times their current expenditure on health, researchers calculated.

Experts say the first few years of life from conception onwards is critical for brain development.

Writing in The Lancet medical journal, the scientists highlight strong evidence linking stunting and extreme poverty to reduced cognitive and educational development, poorer adult health and lower earnings.

Read the complete article.

Better Data Helps Defeat Diarrhea and Could Save Half a Million Kids – But We Need to Act Fast

Better Data Helps Defeat Diarrhea and Could Save Half a Million Kids – But We Need to Act Fast | Source: Huffington Post, Sept 27, 2016 | by Anita Zaidi , Director, Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases (EDD) program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

When I was a young girl in Pakistan, my mother would remind me daily to only drink boiled water. We almost lost my sister to severe diarrhea and my mother was determined to make sure this didn’t happen to our family again.


A village health and nutrition day at Aanganwadi Center Nankui Village, U.P., India on March 23, 2010.

Back then, I didn’t fully understand her. It wasn’t until years later, when I became a pediatrician and a child health researcher, that I realized how deadly watery stools can be.

Unlike for adults, the rapid loss of liquids caused by severe diarrhea can bring children and babies to the brink of death in a matter of hours.

Last year alone, over half a million children under five died from diarrheal diseases – that’s more than one every minute. And for those that survive, the resulting rapid dehydration and metabolic disturbances can lead to long-term damage to the gut and increased risk of malnutrition.

The sad truth is that the ripple effects of something as seemingly simple as a case of childhood diarrhea often extend far beyond health: children miss out on school, treatment costs can drive their families into poverty and in many countries, nursing a sick kid back to health can use up resources that are needed for other essentials like food or education.

Read the complete article.

Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop Stunting, Study Says

Better Nutrition Alone Won’t Stop Stunting, Study Says | Source: The Cambodia Daily, Sept 27 2016 |

Despite steady gains over the past two decades, about a third of Cambodia’s children are still stunted—leaving them smaller, prone to illness and cognitively impaired—according to new research that suggests a more flexible approach is needed to continue progress.

Increased education among parents, better maternal care, improved sanitation and higher incomes were credited as the key drivers in reducing stunting from 51 percent of children in 2000 to 34 percent in 2014, according to a study released last week.

The researchers from the U.K. said that there seemed to be divergent causes for the drop in rural and urban areas.

The study, titled “What Explains Cambodia’s Success in Reducing Child Stunting: 2000-2014?,” also finds that programs focused exclusively on improving child nutrition had not shown sure signs of success.

Read the complete article.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene must be the first lines of defence against antimicrobial resistance

Water, sanitation, and hygiene must be the first lines of defence against antimicrobial resistance. The Lancet Global Health Blog, Sept 21, 2016 |

Author : Yael Velleman. Yael Velleman is a WaterAid senior policy analyst on health and hygiene


WaterAid/Anna Kari

As world leaders meet at the UN General Assembly to discuss the rise of drug-resistant micro-organisms globally, they would do well to consider the experience of the midwives at Kiomboi hospital, in the Iramba district of Tanzania.

Before a WaterAid intervention earlier this year, Kiomboi’s taps were dry for 23 hours per day, leaving medical professionals faced with a difficult choice: risk the transmission of infection during childbirth because the delivery room and instruments could not be properly cleaned, or prescribe precious antibiotics as a preventive measure, possibly contributing to the emerging problem of drug-resistant infections.

It is difficult to describe what it is like for medical professionals like these, delivering babies and caring for patients in a hospital without adequate access to clean water or proper sanitation. The water supply to the wards runs for just 1 hour per day, medical equipment is washed in the same sink that waste from the maternity ward is disposed into, and expectant mothers wash their babies’ clothes in the dirty water of a nearby river. The only toilet is fetid and dank and the shower is next to an open sewer. Dirty hands and dirty water mean that pathogens spread quickly and babies and their mothers risk infections like sepsis.

In March, when Kiomboi was without water for 3 consecutive weeks, staff told WaterAid they had to turn first to unpredictable collection of rainwater, and then had to send a car to collect water from a river. Without readily available clean water, midwives were not able to do their jobs safely. At least 12 babies developed sepsis during this period, and two of them died. Midwives were then faced with the torturous question of whether those babies’ deaths were their fault: were those infections transmitted in the delivery process?

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Sustainable Sanitation Alliance – Thematic Online Discussion: “Managing WASH in Schools – Is the Education Sector Ready?”

The Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA) is excited to announce the 10th Thematic Online Discussion on the topic of “Managing WASH in Schools – Is the Education Sector Ready?”

Starting on Monday, September 19, we invite you to join our discussion on the challenges of WASH in Schools (WinS) globally which is part of SuSanA’s Thematic Discussion Series (TDS).

The direct links of WinS to SDG2 (health), SDG6 (water and sanitation) and SDG4 (education) pose the chance for increased inter-sectoral cooperation. Thereby, the education sector’s leadership and management are critical to broad-scale implementation and success of WinS. Yet, how is the education sector taking WASH on board and how can the sector manage it? How does the reality look like in schools around the world? What does it take for better-managed WinS? What shifts/changes are necessary to see the situation change?

Building on the SuSanA Working Group 7 (Community, Rural & Schools) meeting during the Stockholm Water Week 2016, we would like to address these and other questions in order to get a better understanding of the challenges and needs of the education sector to successfully manage WASH in schools.

In particular, we will structure our discussion along two topics – (1) Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level and (2) Implementation Level/Matters of Implementation.

For both topics, experts from both the WASH and the education sector will provide leadership, food for thought and a profound insight into the topic. Questions raised by Forum Users will also be addressed.

Discussing WASH in school and the education sector’s role and potential for leadership, we propose the following schedule:

Theme I – Policy Issues on the Regional and Global Level (September 19-30)
Theme II – Implementation Level (September 21-30)

We look forward to interested participants and an enriching discussion on WinS.

Kind regards,

Antonio S.D. on behalf of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance

Sanitation & nutrition: WaSH Policy Research Digest, August 2016

Sanitation & nutrition: WaSH Policy Research Digest, August 2016. UNC Water Institute.

Detailed Review of a Recent Publication: Improved sanitation results in taller children in Mali. Pickering, A.J. et al., 2015. Effect of a community-led sanitation intervention on child diarrhoea and child growth in rural Mali: A cluster-randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Global Health, 3(11), pp.e701–e711. wi_header595x70

Key Policy and Programmatic Takeaways

  • Well-implemented Community Led Total Sanitation can increase latrine use: A sanitation program in Mali led to the construction and use of latrines that were affordable and acceptable to the users.
  • Sanitation improvements decrease stunting: The intervention resulted in reductions in stunting among children, measured by height and weight data.
  • Stunting can be considered a useful measure of health impact: Use of height and weight data demonstrated health impacts not shown by diarrhea data alone.

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