This new video In Her Shoes, made by Oxfam, highlights the drama faced by so many women and young girls in using communal latrines.
What is Sani Tweaks?
Recent research across our refugee response programmes has shown that a worrying number of women and girls are not using the latrines we provide. Low sanitation usage rates mean that we are not meeting the needs of the communities we work with and will additionally result in increased public health risks in emergency situations.
To address this, the Oxfam WASH team has developed a series of communications tools that seek to promote best practices in sanitation. The ‘tweaks’ highlighted by the series are intended to inform technical staff, to encourage continuous improvement and ultimately inspire a more effective approach to the design and construction of latrines. For it is such small improvements that will make the difference between whether a woman or girl uses the latrine or not.
Who is it for?
The series is aimed at technical WASH staff at field level, with the aim of encouraging proactive and practical implementation of the best practices highlighted. It is also very much intended to be used as universal guidance by all agencies and adapted to suit individual needs.
This issue contains recent studies, reports, blog posts, and webinars that discuss water utilities and COVID-19 on a global, regional, and country basis.
USAID Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Strategic Approach to COVID-19 Response. USAID, April 2020. This document provides a comprehensive overview of USAID’s strategic approaches to WASH within the context of COVID-19 across health, emergency, and longer term recovery programming.
Utilities in Developing Countries, in Financial Tailspin, Try to Keep Water Flowing During Pandemic and Beyond. New Security Beat, June 2020. The global coronavirus pandemic is precipitating a financial crisis for water utilities in low- and middle-income countries as many of these service providers face drastic cuts in revenue and rising costs to respond to the public health emergency.
Supporting Water Utilities During COVID-19. World Bank, June 2020. This blog post links to reports and tools which discuss challenges faced by water utilities during the pandemic.
COVID-19: A Utility Leaders’ Response. International Water Association (IWA), May 2020. This online discussion brings together water utility leaders to share their perspectives, experiences, and response to COVID-19 challenges, the lessons being learned in adapting to a changing situation, and the main messages they are communicating to their customers.
The Unsung Heroes of the COVID-19 Pandemic. WaterAid, June 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention across the world to the vital roles of key workers such as those employed in health care and sanitation. This article highlights the daily dangers sanitation workers, who are often doing their jobs with minimal protective equipment, faced prior to the coronavirus and how the pandemic has exacerbated these working conditions.
What Water and Sanitation Operators Can Do in the Fight Against COVID-19. Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), March 2020. Water and sanitation service providers (small-scale providers, utilities, and local authorities) can be instrumental in stalling the advance of COVID-19. Public utilities should work closely with local health officials and other relevant bodies to launch awareness campaigns about COVID-19 transmission.
Read the complete article.
CKM’s role in managing the Emergency WASH Network will end later this year so we are searching for organizations that would be interested in managing the Network in the future. Please contact me if this is something you would like to discuss.
Also, let us know if you have research, reports or upcoming events that can be featured in the next biweekly update.
From Michelle Tran – email@example.com
A Survey on Faecal Sludge Management in Emergencies: University of Oxford – Purpose of Survey: This survey inquires about the importance of FSM in WASH responses during first-phase emergencies (approximately the first 6 months of the response) and whether later stages of the FSM chain are prioritized in emergencies. The results of this study will estimate demand for FSM products and guidance among WASH practitioners. Survey results will be shared within the wider emergency WASH sector after publication of this research (September-November 2020).
July 14 (in English and French) Make Me a Change Agent: An SBC Resource for WASH, Agriculture, and Livelihoods Activities – USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)-funded SCALE and PRO-WASH awards invite you to this interactive webinar to dive into the Make Me a Change Agent: An SBC Resource for WASH, Agriculture, and Livelihoods Activities training manual, and discuss how these fundamental skills can improve your WASH, agriculture and livelihoods programming.
Culture, Context and Hygiene Promotion for COVID-19. This is a free interactive online module, delivered live by RedR UK’s hygiene promotion experts. You will learn the key public health risks related to COVID-19 and how these can be addressed by appropriate hygiene promotion.
USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance Fact Sheet, June 2020 – BHA leads and coordinates the U.S. Government’s humanitarian assistance efforts overseas. The Bureau responds to an average of 75 disasters in more than 70 countries every year.
Twelve finalists in the running for the EIC Horizon Prize for Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid. European Commission, June 2020 – LORAWAN monitoring by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), real-time solutions for water tanker and water reservoir remote monitoring to improve the effectiveness of water trucking programming globally. WATER4HUMANITY by Tel Aviv University, a new circular economy solution allowing ultra-filtration of water using discarded “artificial kidney” filters.
WASH in Humanitarian Situations
Lebanon: Menstrual Hygiene Management Among Syrian Refugee Women in the Bekaa. Oxfam, June 2020. The research provides potential solutions and recommendations for integrating menstrual hygiene management in humanitarian responses, particularly targeted at the WASH, protection, education and health sectors.
Emerging Learning Brief: Strengthening Local Governance of Watershed Management for Water Supply and Irrigation in the Dry Corridor of Honduras. Global Communities, June 2020.
Under the Dry Corridor Alliance Program (ACS-USAID), the Government of Honduras and USAID aim to reduce extreme poverty and malnutrition in rural areas of Honduras.
Since 2017, Global Communities has been implementing the “Watershed Management and Conservation” component of ACS-USAID in the departments of La Paz, Intibucá and Lempira, working with national government agencies, local and regional governments, communities and water organizations to address weak management of watersheds, which often results in severely deforested lands.
The Project provides grants to communities to reduce rates of degradation and reforest the watersheds, providing sustainable access to water for consumption and irrigation.
Global Communities also provides technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of local communities and organizations to manage water resources.
This Learning Brief describes the Project’s participatory approach, shares results to date and identifies key emerging lessons that will help to strengthen the Project moving forward.
Below is an excerpt from the Water Currents issue on WASH and financing and the complete issue is on the Globalwaters.org website.
How Improved Financing Enhances Water and Sanitation Service Delivery . Global Waters Radio, March 2019. How can better financing help extend water and sanitation services to those most in need? To answer that question, Global Waters Radio speaks with two experts: Ella Lazarte, senior water and sanitation advisor at USAID, and Barbara Kazimbaya-Senkwe, global knowledge management and communications lead with the USAID–supported WASH-FIN program.
Reform and Finance for the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Sector . World Bank, August 2019. This summary note integrates three lines of work—utility reform, sector reform, and sector finance—for readers to understand the critical links among the three spheres.
Utilities in Developing Countries, in Financial Tailspin, Try to Keep Water Flowing During Pandemic and Beyond . Circle of Blue, May 2020. Water utilities are experiencing a “double hit” in their finances that could hinder operations into the future.
Rethinking the Economics of Rural Water in Africa . Oxford Review of Economic Policy, January 2020. The findings conclude with policy recommendations to network rural services at scale, unlock rural payments by creating value, and design and test performance-based funding models at national and regional scales.
Channeling Financial Flows for Urban Water and Sanitation . Center for Strategic and International Studies, November 2019. New sources of financing are needed to provide clean water and sanitation for citizens around the world. The challenge is particularly acute in cities where population growth and urbanization are stretching resources and deteriorating living conditions.
Financing for Water—Water for Financing: A Global Review of Policy and Practice . Sustainability, February 2019. The relationship between the water and financial sectors is explored through a review of past and current policies and practices, and new needs driven by growing water insecurity (i.e., drought and floods) and climate change.
Read the complete issue.
Center for Water and Sanitation (C-WAS), CEPT University in India – CEPT’s Center of Water and Sanitation (CWAS) works on urban water and sanitation related action research. In Maharashtra, the C-WAS team works closely with the state government and local government to support implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission. There is also a link to C-WAS at CEPT University.
Selected reports and resources include:
Policy Brief: Financing and Business Models for Faecal Sludge and Septage Treatment for Urban India. CWAS, July 2019. This policy brief identifies the possible financing options and business models for setting up Faecal Sludge Treatment Plants (FSTPs) as a part of citywide FSSM services. The research findings highlight that capital financing requirement for FSTPs is only a small proportion of the total urban sector outlay at both the national and state levels. Thus, there is a need to create better awareness at both national and state levels to explicitly incorporate FSSM related components in national programs.
Exploring Development Impact Bonds: Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM). CWAS, July 2019. In this Roundtable Discussion, participants shared preliminary ideas on DIB in FSSM, assessed opportunities and challenges and discussed the potential impact on investors and outcome funders.
Development Impact Bonds for Urban Sanitation in India. World Water Week, Stockholm, Sweden 2019. Development Impact Bonds or a Social Impact Bond (SIB/DIB) can help unlock private financing while focusing on social outcomes. This video discuses CEPT and partner initiatives to develop SIB/DIB for urban sanitation in small towns in India.
15th Finance Commission: Covid-19 Warrants Rethink of Local Government Allocations. Ideas for India, April 2020. In this post, Meera Mehta and Dinesh Mehta provide suggestions with regard to increasing allocation for sanitation, and making available more untied funds for urban local governments to enable them to meet exigencies of Covid-19-like situations.
Sanitation Taxes for Waste Treatment Plants and Pay-for-Success in Desludging. OECD. Technical assistance provided by CEPT enabled municipal governments in Wai and Sinnar in the India State of Maharashtra to establish a sanitation tax as part of existing property taxes and to introduce city-wide fecal sludge and septage management services. The approach uses a public-private partnership to deliver scheduled emptying and establish fecal sludge treatment plants.
USAID’s Water Team is pleased to introduce a new series of technical briefs that provide guidance for developing and implementing water and sanitation activities in support of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID’s plan under the strategy.
These are intended to be used by staff working in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector, both within and outside of USAID. The first set of technical briefs cover:
These briefs draw upon the latest evidence from USAID’s research and learning activities, our ex-post evaluation series, and other WASH sector studies. USAID WASH technical experts developed the briefs to highlight key considerations for activity design on a specific topic and provide recommendations for implementation and monitoring.
Each brief puts current practice into context with a discussion of programming approaches that have and have not worked in the past, includes concrete examples from the field, and suggests additional resources for further reading. Readers will have a better understanding of how to put the latest technical guidance into practice in the context of a USAID activity.
The rural water brief describes the important roles of national governments, service authorities, and service providers in delivering sustainable water services beyond first-time access. It describes various water service delivery models as alternatives to the traditional approach of volunteer community water management committees which has failed to sustain services in the past.
The rural sanitation brief focuses on how to address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors to achieve areawide coverage of sanitation. It also notes the need to leave space for failure and learning, as the sector does not yet have all the answers in this area.
The brief on WASH and nutrition outcomes summarizes the evidence of how WASH services and behaviors affect nutrition, given recent results from the Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) and WASH Benefits trials. It recommends key approaches to achieving the type of transformational WASH that is likely to lead to benefits for child nutrition.
We hope these briefs are helpful to those designing and implementing WASH programs. Additional briefs will be released in the coming months. Look for new additions on Globalwaters.org.
By Elizabeth Jordan, Water and Sanitation Advisor, USAID RFS Center for Water Security, Sanitation and Hygiene
In this newsletter we are pleased to announce the forthcoming launch of our new website! We also offer timely advice to sanitation and hygiene practitioners in the second edition of our Handwashing Compendium for Low Resource Settings: A Living Document.
You may already know, here at the Sanitation Learning Hub, we’ve been working hard on a new website and branding, following the start of a new four-year programme funded by Sida. From Monday June 22nd the site will be available at https://sanitationlearninghub.org/
The compendium is a living document which will be updated regularly as more examples and good practice emerge. It has been developed and disseminated quickly so immediate, relevant and timely actions can be taken.
This version is the second edition. This updated version includes new sections on:
The unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic, by Andrés Hueso. WaterAid, June 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention across the world to the vital roles of key workers such as those employed in healthcare and sanitation. We must use this opportunity to improve the often dangerous conditions they work in every day, argues Andrés Hueso.
If there is anything that has spread faster than the coronavirus during the pandemic, it has been the recognition of healthcare workers. Across the globe, people have been regularly clapping and cheering from windows and front doors to thank these key workers for their effort and courage in facing the threat of COVID-19 in their daily work. Courage that, unfortunately, borders heroism, where they lack personal protective equipment.
This well-deserved tribute should be extended to other workers who are contributing to keeping society going and all of us safe. In particular, I would like to highlight sanitation and waste workers, who keep communities’ environments clean.
A halt to the services they provide would leave societies at risk of outbreaks of many other diseases. All too often lacking adequate information and personal protective equipment to keep themselves safe, their courage also borders on heroism, yet they rarely receive recognition.
Poor conditions and health risks are amplified during the pandemic
Waste and sanitation workers already faced dire working conditions before the pandemic – debilitating infections, injuries, social stigma and even death. During the pandemic, we still need their services, and they must continue to carry them out, whatever the risk, be it because of civic duty, or fear of losing daily income or the job altogether.
Read the complete article.
USAID WATER AND DEVELOPMENT TECHNICAL SERIES – The technical briefs provide guidance on important topics for developing and implementing water and sanitation activities in support of the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy and USAID’s plan under the strategy. These briefs draw upon the latest evidence and provide recommendations for activity design, implementation, and monitoring. Each brief also provides links to additional resources.
THE TECHNICAL BRIEFS
RURAL WATER SERVICES – This Water and Development Technical Brief provides an overview of the important factors to consider when designing a rural water activity and information on the strengths and weaknesses of various possible water service delivery models.
RURAL SANITATION SERVICES – This Water and Development Technical Brief provides an overview of the important factors to consider in rural sanitation programming, including information on how to address governance, financing, markets, and behaviors for sanitation. It provides guidance for developing, implementing, and monitoring rural sanitation activities based on recent evidence.
WASH AND ITS LINKS TO NUTRITION – This Water and Development Technical Brief summarizes the current state of the evidence of the links between WASH and nutrition. It provides guidance about approaches to WASH that are likely to have greater impact on nutrition outcomes and discusses recommendations for USAID WASH programming.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching a new weekly webinar series for IPC in healthcare settings. Speakers from CDC, WHO, and IPC professional societies around the world will focus on practical advice and implementation considerations for IPC for COVID-19. These 90-minute sessions will give equal time for presentations and for answering questions.
IPC professionals, Ministry of Health staff, partner organizations, and any interested healthcare workers are encouraged to participate. Simultaneous translation is available in Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. CME credit is also available.
Webinars will be held every Thursday, May 14 – July 30, 2020 | 8:00-9:30am EDT │ 12:00-1:30 UTC
Registration link – https://echo.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tY840l7cQFiaPnoxXEdTZg
Webinar Series Topics:
• June 4: WASH in healthcare settings in the context of COVID-19
• June 11: Assessing SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers and inpatients
• June 18: Post-mortem considerations in the context of COVID-19
• June 25: Cleaning and disinfection in the context of COVID-19
• July 2: Limiting the introduction of COVID-19 in healthcare settings
• July 9: Rational use of personal protective equipment and emergency strategies
• July 16: Advice on the use of medical and non-medical masks
• July 23: Considerations for SARI treatment centers
• July 30: IPC in nursing homes and long-term care settings
Thursday, May 28 is Menstrual Hygiene (MH) Day and to mark the occasion, this special issue brings together the voices and actions of nonprofits, government agencies, individuals, the private sector, and the media to advocate for all menstruators.
The inability to manage menstruation prevents millions of women and girls from reaching their full potential.
Lack of education and accurate information on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) issues, persisting taboos and stigma, limited access to hygienic menstrual products, and poor sanitation infrastructure are some of the factors that undermine the educational opportunities, health, dignity, and social status of women and girls around the world.
USAID works to address these factors by developing design standards for female-friendly facilities, creating educational resources, promoting the availability of MH supplies, and destigmatizing menstruation. USAID also works with host governments to draft national MHM strategies.
The USAID Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Partnerships and Learning for Sustainability (WASHPaLS) project and the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health provided content suggestions for this issue.
May 28, 2020, Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020 – MH Day helps raise awareness and change negative social norms around MHM and engage decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyze action for MHM, at global, national, and local levels. Content on the website includes Campaign Materials, MHM Resources, News, and additional information.
May 28, 2020, Webinar. Dignity, Agency, Power: Exploring the Linkages Between Women’s Economic Empowerment and Workplace MHM – In this webinar, the USAID WASHPaLS project will present the current body of evidence related to MHM and women’s opportunities for economic empowerment and growth worldwide, as well as early efforts of an action research initiative to further understand this relationship. Here is the link for registration and additional information.
Improving the Impact of Menstrual Health Innovations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Theory of Change and Measurement Framework. Journal of Global Health Reports, March 2020. This paper seeks to introduce the Theory of Change and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework as supportive resources that provide a common framework for the global community as both investors and social entrepreneurs seek to develop more scalable menstrual solutions globally.
Read the complete issue.
WASH & COVID-19
Summary report on doing community engagement at a distance. COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, May 2020.
Summary report on COVID-19 transmission via faecal-oral routes. COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, May 2020.
Summary report on considering gender in COVID-19 hygiene promotion programmes. COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, May 2020.
Water for the urban poor and Covid-19. IDS Help Desk, May 2020.
Handwashing Stations and Supplies for the COVID-19 Response. UNICEF, May 2020.
COVID-19: The environmental implications of shedding SARS-CoV-2 in human faeces. Environment International, July 2020.
Climate-smart cassava gets new use in Zambia: hand sanitizer. Reuters, May 1, 2020.
Below are links to 2020 WASH evaluations by 3ie on the safe disposal of child feces, sanitation programming, and water saving technologies
Impacts of low-cost interventions to improve latrine use and safe disposal of child faeces in rural Odisha, India. 3ie Impact Evaluation Report 119, April 2020.
Our result demonstrates that theory-informed interventions designed to change behavior can be impactful. Latrine use behavior is changing in the research area overall, but increased 6.3 per cent more in the intervention area. Importantly, our intervention also increased reported safe child feces disposal by over 20 per cent. Safe feces disposal practices were not widely practiced in our research area before the intervention, primarily because their importance was not understood.
Additional investment in refining this and similar interventions is warranted to bring these efforts to scale, particularly as safe child feces disposal has yet to be an investment and communication priority in government campaigns to date. The costs needed for safe management of child feces disposal programmes, like ours, do not need to be extensive to enable change.
Moving forward, policymakers should leverage this and similar programs to not only continue to influence behavior change, but also to sustain changes already made. Increased investment to develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions specifically targeting behaviors is warranted. In turn, researchers need to engage target populations, apply theory to intervention design and conduct rigorous process evaluations to inform future adaptation and scale-up.
Improving households’ attitudes and behaviours to increase toilet use in Bihar, India. 3ie Impact Evaluation Report 118, April 2020.
We find a comparable and significant increase in toilet use across treatment and control areas. Self-reported toilet use increased substantially across three different measures of use (usual use, last time use and last three times use). Treatment areas did, however, show an increase in knowledge on correct pit filling rates, and decomposition rates, as well as an increase in the perceived convenience of pit emptying. Most households, however, still reported relying on hiring someone for pit emptying, not always waiting until decomposition was complete.
These results suggest the need for future sanitation programming to focus on knowledge of decomposition rates and the correct disposal of fecal matter, and to emphasize the ease of self-emptying. Sanitation programming must recognize deep-seated social and caste biases, which require sanitation to be treated as a social as well as a health issue.
Access to safe drinking water: experimental evidence from new water sources in Bangladesh. 3ie Impact Evaluation Report 109, March 2020.
The programme reduced arsenic contamination in household drinking water, but not faecal contamination. Each tubewell installed under the programme led to a reduction in arsenic contamination of household drinking water that is equivalent to its elimination at the World Health Organization level for about five households. However, each of these tubewells also led to an increase in faecal contamination that is equivalent to introducing faecal contamination into the drinking water of about two households (although we cannot reject a small reduction or no effect on faecal contamination in household drinking water).
Modest improvements in source water quality, with respect to faecal contamination, are offset by an increase in travel time and possibly by changes in storage behaviour. The programme somewhat improved faecal contamination at the source level, but also slightly increased travel time and induced small changes in storage behaviour, both of which increase the risk of faecal contamination in drinking water.
Our best estimates suggest that walking an extra minute to collect drinking water increases the risk of faecal contamination by approximately 1.7 per cent, while storing drinking water in the house increases the risk of faecal contamination by approximately 7 per cent. The consequences of these negative effects are modest because few households walk more than a minute to collect drinking water, and the majority of households did not change their storage behaviour as a result of the intervention.
Impact of alternate wetting and drying on farm incomes and water savings in Bangladesh. 3ie Impact Evaluation Report 108, March 2020. This impact evaluation highlights the impact of alternate wetting and drying, a water-saving technology used to reduce irrigation water consumption in rice fields, as compared to conventional flood irrigation on water savings and farm incomes in Bangladesh.
The 5 Star Toilet Campaign: improving toilet use in rural Gujarat. 3ie Impact Evaluation Report 105, February 2020. This impact evaluation evaluated the effect of the 5 Star Toilet Campaign on toilet use in rural Gujarat. The Campaign was launched to address the complex determinants of low toilet use and improve use among all members of households having access to government or contractor-built toilets in selected villages of Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Improving School Attendance and Positive Feelings about Menstruation for Girls in Ghana through a Holistic Menstrual Health and Hygiene Management Approach. Global Communities, May 2020.
Girls reporting difficulties in attending schools was reduced from 47% to 10% as a result of the pilot intervention, suggesting that a holistic MHH approach, that includes providing sustainable period products and education effectively reduced barriers to girls’ school attendance.
As a result of the intervention, 92% of girls reported positive feelings about menstruation and 88% of boys reported feeling more comfortable around girls during their period, suggesting that SmartCycle® MHH education increased boys’ and girls’ awareness of reproductive growth and menstruation as natural biological processes.
The intervention was similarly impactful in rural and urban areas, with students in both regions experiencing a roughly fi ve fold decrease in reported difficulties attending school during menstruation. However, there is an underlying rural-urban divide, with 58% of girls in rural areas reporting difficulties attending school prior to the intervention, as compared to 41% of girls in urban areas.
The Economic Impact of COVID-19 around the World: A Round-Up of the Most Recent Analysis. Center For Global Development.
Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research. Our World in Data.
Menstruation & COVID-19 Studies and Resources. Global Menstrual Collective.
Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and menstrual health and hygiene. UNICEF, April 2020.
What key principles should we use to guide our coronavirus hygiene programming? COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, April 2020.
Challenge – As in most rural areas in Vietnam, access to safe water and sanitation services in eight provinces in the Red River Delta was a significant challenge. In 2012, only 36% of households had access to ‘clean’ water, defined as meeting the national quality standards.
Groundwater, which generations of local people used for cooking and drinking, was becoming increasingly contaminated by toxic hazards. Piped water networks were either broken or failing to reach households. At the same time, only 56% of rural households had hygienic latrines and less than 20% of people washed their hands with soap at key moments.
Approach – Vietnam rolled out an ambitious National Target Program for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation – Phase 3 (NTP3) in 2013. This project used the World Bank’s Program-for-Results (PforR) lending instrument, which for the first time linked the disbursement of IDA financing to results achieved on the ground.
The PforR framework created powerful incentives to drive results and achieve the sustainability of water and sanitation services. For example, a commune was deemed qualifying to receive funding only if it had met all criteria for the ‘Community-Wide Sanitation’ (CWS) status: 100% of public schools and health centers have clean water and hygienic sanitation facilities; at least 70% of households have hygienic sanitation meeting government standards; 100% of households use latrines of some kind; and the commune is open-defecation free.
When it comes to stopping a pandemic – be it COVID-19 or infectious Disease X sometime in the future – we are only as strong as the weakest link. And there is a clear weak link that few recognize and appreciate: the lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities across the developing world.
Pandemics specialize in beating efforts to control them, especially at critical sites. Perhaps no place is more critical than any given healthcare facility where there is the greatest density of pathogens and the greatest volume of sick people.
The unappreciated reality is that at a time when we are bombarded with the message to “wash your hands,” healthcare workers and patients in healthcare facilities often cannot perform that simple act. WASH is the foundation of healthcare.
However, one in four healthcare facilities lacks basic water, one in five lacks sanitation, and two in five lack hand hygiene materials at points of care. That leaves a massive “catchment area” of two billion people who must rely on these inadequate facilities for their healthcare. This situation is always deeply troubling and especially problematic during a pandemic.
Read the complete article.
Brief: Mitigating the impacts of COVID-19 and menstrual health and hygiene. UNICEF, April 2020.
A summary of essential considerations to ensure continuation of MHH during the pandemic: