Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

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.

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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.

 

WaterAid – Caught Short: how a lack of access to clean water and decent toilets plays a major role in child stunting

Caught Short: how a lack of access to clean water and decent toilets plays a major role in child stunting, 2016. WaterAid.

WaterAid’s new report reveals the extent of the global stunting crisis and the impact a lack of clean water and decent toilets is having on the futures of millions of children suffering from malnutrition.

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Sisters Manjula, 9, and Gouramma, 13, stand in front of a blackboard at their school in Karnataka State, India, showing how their height compares to the average for their age. Gouramma also suffers from hypothyroidism, which doctors say may in part explain her height.

50% of malnutrition cases are linked to chronic diarrhoea caused by lack of clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene, including handwashing with soap.

For a child, experiencing five or more cases of diarrhoea before the age of two can lead to stunting. Beyond this age, the effects are largely irreversible.

“Stunting not only makes children shorter for their age, but affects their emotional, social and cognitive development, meaning their lives and life chances are forever changed,” says Barbara Frost, WaterAid’s Chief Executive.

The Caught Short report reveals that:

  • India has the highest number of children suffering from stunting in the world – 48 million, or two in every five.
  • Nigeria and Pakistan rank second and third with 10.3 and 9.8 million children suffering from stunting respectively.
  • Timor-Leste has the highest percentage of children who are stunted, at 58%.

 

2016 WEDC conference presentations on CLTS

The 122 presentations from the 2016 WEDC conference are now online at http://wedc.lu/wedc39 and below are titles of presentations on the topic of community-led total sanitation. wedc_moodle

  1. Building ODF communities through effective collaboration with governments
  2. CLTS plus : making CLTS ever more inclusive
  3. CLTS versus other approaches to promote sanitation: rivalry or complementarity?
  4. Community-led total sanitation (CLTS) in fragile contexts: the Somalia case
  5. Partial usage of toilets: a growing problem
  6. Seeking evidence of sustained sanitation successes
  7. Shocking imagery and cultural sensitivity: a CLTS case study from Madagascar
  8. To ODF and beyond: sharing experiences from the Pan African CLTS programme
  9. Using a CLTS approach and/or CLTS tools in urban environments: themes and trends
  10. Who is managing the post-ODF process in the community? A case study of Nambale District in Western Kenya
  11. Good governance for sustainable WASH programming: lessons from two USAID-funded projects

Global Waters Radio: Emily Rand on Improved Child Feces Management

A World Bank expert weighs in on the strategic importance of an emerging field in global public health.

Emily Rand is a water supply and sanitation specialist at the World Bank, who also teaches about the design, implementation, and evaluation of WASH programs at George Washington University in Washington, DC. rand

In her recent conversation with Global Waters Radio, Rand discusses key findings from recent research produced by the World Bank and UNICEF in the growing public health field of child feces management.

She also shares examples of improved caregiver behaviors and programs to promote those behaviors. Poor child feces management can result in substantial health impacts in children, including a higher prevalence of diarrheal disease, intestinal worms, enteropathy, malnutrition, and death. For that reason, safe disposal of children’s feces is as essential as that of adults’ feces.

“The behavior of the children’s caregiver is critical to disposing of their feces safely and shaping the child’s toilet training.”

Neurocysticercosis: Leading Cause of Acquired Epilepsy Worldwide

Neurocysticercosis: Leading Cause of Acquired Epilepsy Worldwide | Source: Medscape, August 1 2016 |

Hello. I am Dr Paul Cantey, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). I am pleased to be speaking with you today as part of the CDC Expert Commentary Series on Medscape. Today I will be discussing neglected parasitic infections (NPIs), specifically neurocysticercosis.

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Scolex of T solium. Image courtesy of CDC DPDx.

First, a little background on NPIs. NPIs are a group of five parasitic infections in the United States, which are targeted by CDC as priorities for public health action based on the number of people infected, the severity of the illnesses, and the ability to prevent and treat them. These diseases include Chagas disease, cysticercosis, toxocariasis, toxoplasmosis, and trichomoniasis.

Cysticercosis is infection with the encysted larval form of Taenia solium, or pork tapeworm.

Cysticercosis and Neurocysticercosis

Cysticercosis is endemic in developing countries where pigs are raised in close contact with humans and sanitation is poor, including areas in Latin America, Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. In the United States, infection is most common in persons who have immigrated from or traveled extensively to endemic areas.

Read the complete article.

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.”