Category Archives: Sanitation and Health

Water Safety Plans – Water Currents, July 10, 2017

Water Safety Plans – Water Currents, July 10, 2017.

Water Safety Plans (WSPs) were introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2004 as a health-based, risk assessment approach to managing drinking water quality.

WSPs identify potential threats to water quality at each step in the water supply chain and are recognized as the most reliable and effective way to manage drinking-water supplies to safeguard public health. watercurrents

This issue contains primarily 2016 and 2017 publications from WHO, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Water Association (IWA), and others as well as links to WSP–related websites.

Read the complete issue.

Global use of wastewater to irrigate agriculture at least 50 percent greater than thought

Global use of wastewater to irrigate agriculture at least 50 percent greater than thought. Phys.org, July 2017.

The use of untreated wastewater from cities to irrigate crops downstream is 50 percent more widespread than previously thought, according to a new study published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

agriculture

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The study relies on advanced modeling methods to provide the first truly comprehensive estimate of the global extent to which farmers use urban wastewater on irrigated cropland. Researchers analyzed data with geographic information systems (GIS) rather than depending on case study results, as in previous studies.

The researchers also assessed for the first time ‘indirect reuse’, which occurs when wastewater gets diluted but still remains a dominant component of surface water flows. Such situations account for the majority of agricultural water reuse worldwide, but have been difficult to quantify on a global level due to different views of what constitutes diluted wastewater versus polluted water.

Read the complete article.

When Water Doesn’t Flow: Why Lack of Water Matters in Healthcare Facilities

When Water Doesn’t Flow: Why Lack of Water Matters in Healthcare Facilities. PLoS Global Health Blog, June 29, 2017.

Why Lack of Water Matters in Healthcare Facilities

Water, as well as the availability of sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, are essential to providing safe, quality healthcare. Without water, surfaces remain unclean and medical equipment cannot be sterilized. Water shortages within healthcare facilities are particularly concerning when thinking about the water needed for surgery or in maternity units.

ghana

When water does not flow from the piped water supply within the hospital, jerry cans (the yellow containers shown) are used to collect water from a nearby lake

According to the World Health Organization’s Essential Environmental Health Standards in Health Care, 100 liters of water are needed per medical intervention preformed in healthcare facilities.  As an example, if one hospital in Ghana reported that 138 babies were born in one month then 13,800 liters of water would be needed to ensure safe delivery of all babies. Based on my experiences as a researcher and a patient in a rural Ghana hospital, meeting this requirement would be virtually impossible.

During my hospitalization, water did not flow through the pipes within the hospital and the donated water treatment system was not operating due to water scarcity and intermittent power in the region.

The lack of water sparked a series of managerial decisions, which in turn affected patients’ access to toilets and handwashing facilities, which led to clinical staffing shortages. Without adequate water in the hospital, management locked the bathrooms within the wards and rationed water for staff handwashing.

My infirmed neighboring bedmates were told to use an open area behind the ward to relieve themselves. In a few cases, these sick patients were too weak to do so, and the floor next to their beds quickly became soiled contributing to environmental contamination. The hospital would then dispatch valuable nursing staff to a lake –located half a mile away to get water in order to clean floors.

Read the complete article.

Global Sanitation Fund reports improvements in sanitation and hygiene for millions of people

People-centred, nationally-led programmes empower millions to end open defecation, improve sanitation, and increase dignity and safety

Geneva, 28 June 2017 – A new report shows that WSSCC’s Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) has supported governments and thousands of partners across 13 countries, stretching from Cambodia to Senegal, to enable over 15 million people to end open defecation.

 

As the funding arm of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), GSF-supported programmes are contributing to the Council’s vision of universal access to sustainable and equitable sanitation and hygiene across countries throughout south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Focused on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.2, GSF focuses on improving sanitation and hygiene in the poorest and most marginalized communities, thereby contributing to associated development goals for education, health, women’s empowerment, climate change and urban development.

The 2016 GSF Progress Report highlights activities and results achieved from the inception of the Fund to the end of the year. Cumulative results to 31 December 2016 include:

  • 15.2 million people have been empowered to live in ODF environments, just over the target of 15 million.
  • 12.8 million people have gained access to improved toilets, 16% more than the target of 11 million.
  • 20 million people have gained access to handwashing facilities, 81% more than the target of 11 million.

Read more or download the report in English or French

Cholera Hitches A Ride On The Backs Of Soft-Shell Turtles

Cholera Hitches A Ride On The Backs Of Soft-Shell Turtles. NPR, June 26, 2017.

You can catch cholera from drinking contaminated water.

You can catch it from raw or undercooked shellfish.

And you can catch it from soft-shell turtles.

cholera

Cholera bacteria can colonize the outer surfaces of the Chinese soft-shell turtle, a species that’s found in parts of Asia. Frank Greenaway/Getty Images

That’s the finding of a study published this month by scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. And it’s a particular concern in China and many other countries in East Asia, where turtle meat is often used in stews and soups.

The researchers found that the bacterium that causes cholera, Vibrio cholerae, can colonize many of the outer surfaces of a soft-shell turtle, including its shell, legs, neck and calipash — a gelatinous material just underneath the shell and highly prized as a delicacy. The bacteria can also live in turtles’ intestines. The study was published in the scientific journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Although China has relatively few cholera cases compared to other countries, several small outbreaks of cholera are linked to soft-shell turtles every year, often at rural banquets — a troubling sign, considering that turtle consumption in the country has grown to somewhere between 220 million and 330 million pounds per year.

“We found that soft-shell turtles really can carry Vibrio cholerae and cause cholera outbreaks,” said Meiying Yan, one of the study’s authors. “The surface of the turtle was the most important source of Vibrio cholerae O139.” O139 is a strain of cholera circulating in Asia that was discovered in 1992.

Read the complete article.

 

Freddy the Fly – an animated video about a community’s journey to ODF status

Meet Freddy, a fly who loves toilet fondue! Find out what happens to him when the village he lives in is triggered into cleaning up their act to become open defecation free (ODF). Please share this video widely and use Freddy to illustrate how behaviour change methods, including Community-Led Total Sanitation, work to help communities become healthier and more productive. And join the ODF movement at wsscc.org!

Global Waters – USAID’s 40-Year Legacy in Water and Wastewater Meets the Needs of Egypt’s Growing Population

USAID’s 40-Year Legacy in Water and Wastewater Meets the Needs of Egypt’s Growing Population. Global Waters, June 13, 2017.

Egypt today is a country in transition. With one of the fastest growing populations in the world — estimates suggest that the population will increase from 93 to 120 million people by 2030 — Egypt’s infrastructure needs to keep pace.

egypt

A man turns on the new faucet in his home in Upper Egypt. Photo Credit: Mohamed Abdelwahab for USAID

In both urban and rural areas, population growth has led to an expansion of settlements that strain current water and wastewater systems.

Often, settlements are built over the heavily polluted, unsanitary waterways, posing a public health threat by carrying the risk of waterborne disease.

Since 1978, USAID invested more than $3.5 billion to help bring potable water and sanitation services to more than 25 million Egyptians, directly improving their health and environmental conditions.

Read the complete article.