Category Archives: Research

Learning from Sustained Success: How Community-Driven Initiatives to Improve Urban Sanitation Can Meet the Challenges

Learning from Sustained Success: How Community-Driven Initiatives to Improve Urban Sanitation Can Meet the Challenges. World Development, July 2016.

Authors: Gordon McGranahan, Diana Mitlin.

Past research by one of the authors of this paper has identified four key institutional challenges that community-driven initiatives to improve sanitation in deprived urban settlements face: the collective action challenge of improving community sanitation; the coproduction challenge of working with formal service providers to dispose of the sanitary waste safely; the affordability challenge of reconciling the affordable with what is acceptable to both users and local authorities; and the tenure challenge of preventing housing insecurity from undermining residents’ willingness to commit to sanitary improvement.

In this article we examine how two well-documented, relatively successful and longstanding initiatives, the Orangi Pilot Project and an Alliance of Indian partners, met these challenges. They were met through social innovation, but also through the choice and development of sanitation technologies (simplified sewers for OPP and community toilet blocks for the Indian Alliance) that provided traction for the social innovations. We also explore more recent efforts by civil society partnerships in four African cities, demonstrating some of the difficulties they have faced in trying to overcome these challenges. No equivalent models have emerged, though there has been considerable progress against particular challenges in particular places.

These findings confirm the importance of the challenges, and indicate that these are not just challenges for social organization, but also for technology design and choice. For example, the problem with household pit latrines is not that they cannot physically be improved to sufficiently, but that they are not well-suited to the social, economic and political challenges of sanitary improvement at scale. The findings also indicate that a low economic status and a tendency to treat sanitation as a private good not suitable for public support also makes the sanitation challenges difficult to overcome.

The Knowledge Base for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene

The Knowledge Base for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 536; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060536

Authors: Guy Hutton and Claire Chase

Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are fundamental to an improved standard of living. Globally, 91% of households used improved drinking water sources in 2015, while for improved sanitation it is 68%. Wealth disparities are stark, with rural populations, slum dwellers and marginalized groups lagging significantly behind. Service coverage is significantly lower when considering the new water and sanitation targets under the sustainable development goals (SDGs) which aspire to a higher standard of ‘safely managed’ water and sanitation.

Lack of access to WASH can have an economic impact as much as 7% of Gross Domestic Product, not including the social and environmental consequences. Research points to significant health and socio-economic consequences of poor nutritional status, child growth and school performance caused by inadequate WASH. Groundwater over-extraction and pollution of surface water bodies have serious impacts on water resource availability and biodiversity, while climate change exacerbates the health risks of water insecurity.

A significant literature documents the beneficial impacts of WASH interventions, and a growing number of impact evaluation studies assess how interventions are optimally financed, implemented and sustained. Many innovations in behavior change and service delivery offer potential for scaling up services to meet the SDGs.

 

The Developing World Urgently Needs Phages to Combat Pathogenic Bacteria

The Developing World Urgently Needs Phages to Combat Pathogenic BacteriaFront. Microbiol., 08 June 2016. Authors: Tobi E. Nagel,  Benjamin K. Chan, et. al.

With the growing global antimicrobial resistance crisis, there is a critical need for alternatives to conventional antibiotics, especially in developing countries. Virulent bacteriophages (phages) represent a viable antibacterial technology that could be particularly beneficial, since phages are active against antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, easy to isolate from contaminated environments, and relatively inexpensive to produce.

We discuss here examples of infectious diseases that significantly affect developing countries, phage applications that could be especially impactful in those settings, and special considerations for implementing phages in the developing world.

Co-composting: New take on traditional technology for better soils and sanitation

Co-composting of solid waste and fecal sludge for nutrient and organic matter recovery, 2016. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI). CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).. 47p.

Authors: Cofie, Olufunke; Nikiema, Josiane; Impraim, Robert; Adamtey, N.; Paul, Johannes; Kone, D.

Biological treatment, composting, in particular, is a relatively simple, durable and inexpensive alternative for stabilizing and reducing biodegradable waste. Co-composting of different waste sources allows to enhance the compost nutrient value. In particular, integration of ‘biosolids’ from the sanitation sector as potential input material for co-composting would provide a solution for the much needed treatment of fecal sludge from on-site sanitation systems, and make use of its high nutrient content.

This research paper elaborates in detail the main parameters that govern the co-composting process as well as factors that control the production of a safe and valuable quality compost. It further explains technological options to tailor the final product to crop and farmer needs.

Identification and quantification of pathogenic helminth eggs using a digital image system

Identification and quantification of pathogenic helminth eggs using a digital image system. Experimental Parasitology, July 2016.

Authors: B. Jiméneza, C. Maya, et. al.

A system was developed to identify and quantify up to seven species of helminth eggs (Ascaris lumbricoides -fertile and unfertile eggs-, Trichuris trichiura, Toxocara canis, Taenia saginata, Hymenolepis nana, Hymenolepis diminuta, and Schistosoma mansoni) in wastewater using different image processing tools and pattern recognition algorithms.

The system allows the helminth eggs most commonly found in wastewater to be reliably and uniformly detected and quantified. In addition, it provides the total number of eggs as well as the individual number by species, and for Ascaris lumbricoides it differentiates whether or not the egg is fertile.

The system only requires basically trained technicians to prepare the samples, as for visual identification there is no need for highly trained personnel. The time required to analyze each image is less than a minute. This system could be used in central analytical laboratories providing a remote analysis service.

 

The Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene/Emory University Spring 2016 Newsletter

The Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene/Emory University Spring 2016 Newsletter

The Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene is an applied research consortium consisting of the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, the Carter Center, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia Tech, and CARE, located in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

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Two-year old Oscar playing in bath water in Dominican Republic. Photo by Emily Brennan.

The  mission of the CGSW is to enable organizations and communities to provide safe, effective, and sustainable drinking water and effective and sustainable sanitation and hygiene improvements by:

  • Contributing to the evidence base of scientific and practical information
  • Identifying and promoting innovative approaches and partnerships that address the world’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) challenge
  • Evaluating interventions and disseminating lessons learned
  • Training future generations of water, sanitation, and global health experts and building capacity of developing country institutions

The Center for Global Safe WASH Newsletter will be sent out quarterly and will serve to share the research and work that the CGSW is doing to influence policies and programs.

This issue contains updates on SaniPath, new research studies, information on upcoming workshops and more.

Chicken coops, sewage treatment plants are hot spots of antibiotic resistance

Chicken coops, sewage treatment plants are hot spots of antibiotic resistance | Source: Eureka Alerts,  May 11 2016 |

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria most often are associated with hospitals and other health-care settings, but a new study indicates that chicken coops and sewage treatment plants also are hot spots of antibiotic resistance.

The research, led by a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is published May 12 in Nature.

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria most often are associated with hospitals and other health-care settings, but a new study indicates that chicken coops and sewage treatment plants also are hot spots of antibiotic resistance. The new study surveyed ecosystems of bacteria and their capacity to resist antibiotics in low-resource communities, including Pampas de San Juan de Miraflores, a densely populated slum outside Lima, Peru. The research, led by a team at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is published May 12 in Nature. CREDIT: Pablo Tsukayama

The scientists surveyed bacteria and their capacity to resist antibiotics in a rural village in El Salvador and a densely populated slum on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. In both communities, the researchers identified areas ripe for bacteria to shuffle and share their resistance genes. These hot spots of potential resistance transmission included chicken coops in the rural village and a modern wastewater treatment plant outside Lima.

“Bacteria can do this weird thing that we can’t — exchange DNA directly between unrelated organisms,” said senior author Gautam Dantas, PhD, an associate professor of pathology and immunology. “That means it’s relatively easy for disease-causing bacteria that are treatable with antibiotics to become resistant to those antibiotics quickly. If these bacteria happen to come into contact with other microbes that carry resistance genes, those genes can pop over in one step. We estimate that such gene-transfer events are generally rare, but they are more likely to occur in these hot spots we identified.”

Read the complete article.