Category Archives: Africa

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds

Disease ‘superspreaders’ accounted for nearly two-thirds of Ebola cases, study finds. Washington Post, February 13, 2017.

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Monrovia, Liberia, was hit hard during the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. (Zoom Dosso/AFP via Getty Images)

They are called superspreaders, the minority of people who are responsible for infecting many others during epidemics of infectious diseases. Perhaps the most famous superspreader was Typhoid Mary, presumed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, between 1900 and 1907.

Now scientists studying how Ebola spread during the 2014-2015 epidemic in West Africa say superspreaders played a bigger role than was previously known, according to findings published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 If superspreading had been completely controlled, almost two-thirds of the infections might have been prevented, scientists said.

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi

Pit Latrine Fecal Sludge Resistance Using a Dynamic Cone Penetrometer in Low Income Areas in Mzuzu City, Malawi. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 87; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020087

Pit latrines can provide improved household sanitation, but without effective and inexpensive emptying options, they are often abandoned once full and may pose a public health threat.

Emptying techniques can be difficult, as the sludge contents of each pit latrine are different. The design of effective emptying techniques (e.g., pumps) is limited by a lack of data characterizing typical in situ latrine sludge resistance.

This investigation aimed to better understand the community education and technical engineering needs necessary to improve pit latrine management. In low income areas within Mzuzu city, Malawi, 300 pit latrines from three distinct areas were assessed using a dynamic cone penetrometer to quantify fecal sludge strength, and household members were surveyed to determine their knowledge of desludging procedures and practices likely to impact fecal sludge characteristics.

The results demonstrate that there is a significant difference in sludge strength between lined and unlined pits within a defined area, though sludge hardened with depth, regardless of the pit type or region. There was only limited association between cone penetration depth and household survey data.

To promote the adoption of pit emptying, it is recommended that households be provided with information that supports pit emptying, such as latrine construction designs, local pit emptying options, and cost.

This study indicates that the use of a penetrometer test in the field prior to pit latrine emptying may facilitate the selection of appropriate pit emptying technology.

Rushing into solutions without fully grasping the problem

Which factors in the enabling environment and which links between actors are key to achieving reliable sanitation services?

Tanzania did not reach the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) concerning improved sanitation facilities in 2012 (JMP Report 2014). Several years later – in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – there is still a lot to be done in the sanitation sector.

Angela Huston (IRC Programme Officer) and Dr Sara Gabrielsson (Assistant Professor at Lund University) are working on an upcoming book chapter about deconstructing the complexities that perpetuate poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in East Africa. Departing from Sustainability Science, the chapter aims to identify which factors in the enabling environment are key to achieving reliable WASH services. This article highlights Huston’s and Gabrielsson’s insights into this topic.

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In Burkina Faso the political commitment for sanitation is unequivocal

The first lady of Burkina Faso has pledged her support for the “Fasotoilettes 2017” campaign.

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IRC and their partners have been saying it for years: to achieve universal sanitation by 2030 (SDG6-2), the commitment of all stakeholders is essential – from the top to the active participation of citizens at grass roots level. We all remember that the President of Burkina Faso made water and sanitation a priority in his electoral campaign and since his election the Government has continued to show its commitment to sanitation and supports the participatory approach promoted by many NGOs by calling on all the citizens of Burkina to get involved.

And on 23 January, it is the wife of the President, Mrs. Sika Kaboré, who added her voice to this movement, showing the importance she accords to the subject by joining the people’s campaign for toilets, “FASOTOILETTES 2017, presiding the opening ceremony.

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Fasotoilettes 2017 launch ceremony by Mrs Sika Kaboré

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Trading in trash: Nairobi’s e-waste entrepreneurs – in pictures

Trading in trash: Nairobi’s e-waste entrepreneurs – in pictures. The Guardian, February 1, 2017.

From small-scale traders to a company processing hundreds of tonnes of e-waste, we explore Nairobi’s relationship with a burgeoning waste stream and visit the people turning it into a resource. Photographs and words by Nathan Siegel.  nairobi

John Obanda, who owns a repair shop, fixes a broken motherboard. Obanda sources items from collectors who work in nearby landfill sites and is one of thousands of traders who buy and recycle discarded electrical and electronic goods in Nairobi.

E-waste has ballooned in the city in the past decade due to rising mobile phone penetration and a burgeoning middle class.

Read the complete article.

Characterization of pit latrines to support design and selection of emptying tools in peri-urban Mzuzu, Malawi

Characterization of pit latrines to support design and selection of emptying tools in peri-urban Mzuzu, Malawi. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development | in press | 2017

Authors: Rashid Chiposa, Rochelle H. Holm, Chimuleke Munthali, Russel C. G. Chidya and Francis L. de los Reyes III

The urban areas of many low-income countries must balance a rising demand for pit latrines for household sanitation provision against limitations in space, resulting in a need for pit latrine emptying services.

This study was undertaken in the peri-urban neighborhood of Area 1B in the city of Mzuzu, Malawi, to examine the characteristics of household pit latrines for designing and selecting pit latrine emptying tools. We used 150 structured household surveys and field observations. From this, a subset was selected and 30 manual cone penetrometer tests were conducted at full latrines. Chemical oxygen demand analysis was also performed at 14 pit latrines.

The results indicated that in addition to serving as a disposal for fecal matter, 90% of households also used pit latrines for domestic waste. Only 10% of the studied pit latrines were lined. The filling rate in the study area is calculated to be about three years, and no respondents reported previous emptying.

It is suggested pit latrine emptying technology development focuses on a maximum tool diameter of 10 cm to fit through the keyhole (squat hole) and height of 146 cm to fit inside the superstructure, as well as supporting unlined pits and the ability to pump trash.

Progress on CLTSH – Findings from a national review of rural sanitation in Ethiopia – UNICEF

Progress on CLTSH – Findings from a national review of rural sanitation in Ethiopia: WASH Learning Note. December 2016.

KEY POINTS

  • Rural sanitation coverage in Ethiopia continues to improve. The survey found on average 68% latrine usage, similar to the 2015 JMP estimate
  • The majority (89%) of household toilets are unimproved
  • There are strong regional disparities in coverage. 5 regions have over 50%, whilst in 3 regions open defecation is still dominant
  • CLTSH is not always implemented as intended. There are regional variations and some aspects of the triggering and follow-up are omitted
  • The Post-ODF follow-up of the CLTSH approach is limited. Very few communites are recorded as having reached ’level 2’ of ODF
  • Handwashing Rates are low. Only 19% of respondents were found to wash hands at all critical times, and only 45% after using the toilet