WASH Weekly Research Updates 2019

Dear Colleagues:

The USAID Water CKM team prepares an informal bulletin each week with some of the most recent WASH-related research and these are archived on a Google Document. Please let us know if you find this useful or contact us if you wish to subscribe to the weekly updates.

FEBRUARY 4, 2019


How Humans Get in the Way of Clean Water. Scientific American, Jan 26. There are many cheap and effective ways to provide safe water to the world’s poor regions. But projects often fail due to inadequate planning, maintenance or persuasive power.

Taking Concrete Actions to Leave No One Behind: Government of Ghana Pro-Poor Policies and Sanitation Guidelines for Targeting the Poor and Vulnerable. Global Communities, Jan 8. Global Communities Ghana, with funding from USAID, as part of the WASH for Health project has been collaborating with the Government of Ghana Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to develop Guidelines for Targeting the Poor and Vulnerable for Basic Sanitation Services in Ghana, published in 2018, to provide guidance for targeting poor and vulnerable populations.

The economics of antimicrobial resistance and the role of water and sanitation services. WASHeconomics, Jan 21. Seeing a paper published a few weeks ago in Nature Communications (more on that below) reminded me of some reading I did last year on WASH and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and got me thinking about the economics of this.

Menstrual health programs need a new focus in developing world, critic says. Washington Post, Jan 13. In her new book, “The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South,” she contends that programs to provide pads and cups to girls in developing countries — also known collectively as the Global South — miss the mark, well-intentioned though they may be. They overlook higher priorities, such as clean water and comprehensive education efforts, she says, and actually work against eradicating taboos surrounding menstruation.


WASH and Health working together: a ‘how to guide’ for NTD programmes. WHO, January 2019. This toolkit provides step-by-step guidance to NTD programme managers and partners on how to engage and work collaboratively with the WASH community to improve delivery of water, sanitation and hygiene services to underserved population affected by many neglected tropical diseases.

WASH Innovation Catalogue. Elrha, Jan 2019. Our WASH Innovation Catalogue is the first of its kind. It offers a unique overview of some of the most promising new solutions in WASH, and is designed to help practitioners decide which innovations could help them solve their most pressing problems. Taking an innovation from idea to scale can take years, and the innovations featured in this catalogue are all at different stages on that journey, but what this offers the WASH sector now is a look at the exciting work happening around the world to address common challenges.


Exposure to Livestock Feces and Water Quality, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Conditions among Caregivers and Young Children: Formative Research in Rural Burkina Faso. AJTMH, Jan 28. Poultry and other livestock feces were visible in all 20 and 19 households, respectively, in both kitchen areas and in the household courtyards where children frequently sit or crawl. Direct soil ingestion by young children was observed in almost half of the households (45%). Poor handwashing practices were also common among caregivers and children. Although latrines were available in almost all households, child feces disposal practices were inadequate.

A culture-dependent and metagenomic approach of household drinking water from the source to point of use in a developing country. Water Research X, Feb 1. Using culture-dependent and -independent techniques, microbial water qualities was examined. Potential health risks increased when water was stored for more than 3 days.

Safely-Managed Hygiene: A Risk-Based Assessment of Handwashing Water Quality. Environ. Sci. Technol., January 28. Our model suggests that handwashing with non-potable water will generally reduce fecal contamination on hands but may be unable to lower the annual probability of infection risks from hand-to-mouth contacts below 1:1000.


AfricaSan5 – AfricanSan5 will be held on 18-22 February 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. The conference Sub-themes are: 1. Hygiene and the SDGs: Leave no one behind; 2. Policies, institutions and regulation; 3. Monitoring and using evidence to improve hygiene & sanitation; 4. Building capacity and financing sanitation in Africa.



Determinants of Latrine Use Behavior: The Psychosocial Proxies of Individual-Level Defecation Practices in Rural Coastal Ecuador. AJTMH, January 21. Using the integrated behavior model of water, sanitation, and hygiene framework, we sought to characterize determinants of latrine use in rural Ecuador.

Effect of Neighborhood Sanitation Coverage on Fecal Contamination of the Household Environment in Rural Bangladesh. AJTMH, January 21. Improved sanitation coverage in the neighborhood had limited measurable effect on FCs in the target household environment. Other factors such as access to improved sanitation in the household, absence of cow dung, presence of appropriate water drainage, and optimal handwashing practice may be more important in reducing FCs in the household environment.

Pit latrine fill-up rates: variation determinants and public health implications in informal settlements, Nakuru-Kenya. BMC Public Health, January 15. This study argues for a need to link information and awareness to users, construction artisans, property owners and local authorities on appropriate vault volumes and management practices.

Perceptions of drinking water cleanliness and health-seeking behaviours: A qualitative assessment of household water safety in Lesotho, Africa. Global Public Health, January 18. Qualitative interviews conducted in the Maseru District of Lesotho addressed how people decided if their water was safe, their understanding of the linkage between water and enteric illness, and health-seeking behavior. Respondents overwhelmingly relied on visual inspections to determine if their water was clean and not all participants linked consuming unsafe water with diarrheal disease.

Water, not temperature, limits global forest growth as climate warms. Science News, January 16. The growth of forest trees all over the world is becoming more water-limited as the climate warms. The effect is most evident in northern climates and at high altitudes where the primary limitation on tree growth had been cold temperatures. The research details the first time that changes in tree growth in response to current climate changes have been mapped at a near-global scale.


5 MINUTES WITH BRITTANY AJROUD. Environmental Incentives, January 17. I am a Senior Associate working on the Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (SWS), which focuses on increasing the sustainability of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs funded by USAID. My main focus has been designing and implementing a monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan for a consortium of four different project teams and multiple implementing partners.

Water Stories from New Security Beat – In this special series, produced with support from USAID, we talk to experts from around the world to hear how they are thinking about and addressing 21st century water challenges.


Technology Breakthroughs for Global Water Security: A Deep Dive into South Asia. ITT, 2018. This report describes the water security problems facing South Asia, and comprehensively identifies the existing and emerging technology levers necessary to address these challenges.

Pacific Institute Releases Updates to the Water Conflict Chronology – The Pacific Institute has just released a new update to its Water Conflict Chronology, adding over 100 new entries identified from news reports, eyewitness accounts, and other conflict databases. The Water Conflict Chronology is the world’s most comprehensive open-source database on water-related violence.

As we grow up: a digital book on menstrual hygiene management. WSSCC, December 2018. This book brought out by Saksham, Noida Deaf Society and WSSCC is in 5 different formats


Environmental conditions in health care facilities in low-and middle-income countries: coverage and inequalities. Ryan Cronk, Jamie Bartram. 2018. International journal of hygiene and environmental health, Volume 221: 409-422. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.01.004

A systematic scoping review of hygiene behaviors and environmental health conditions in institutional care settings for orphaned and abandoned children. Moffa, M., Cronk, R., Fejfar, D., Dancausse, S., Acosta Padilla, L., Bartram, J. 2019. Science of the Total Environment. 658:1161-1174. doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.12.286.

A systematic scoping review of environmental health conditions and hygiene behaviors in homeless shelters. Moffa, M., Cronk, R., Fejfar, D., Dancausse, S., Acosta Padilla, L., Bartram, J. 2018. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.12.004.

Health risk perceptions and local knowledge of water-related infectious disease exposure among Kenyan wetland communities. 2019. Anthonj, Carmen, Bernd Diekkrüger, Christian Borgemeister, and Thomas Kistemann. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. 222(1): 34-48. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.08.003.
Health risk perceptions are associated with domestic use of basic water and sanitation services—Evidence from rural Ethiopia. 2018. Anthonj, Carmen, Lisa Fleming, Samuel Godfrey, Argaw Ambelu, Jane Bevan, Ryan Cronk and Jamie Bartram. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. (15)10: 2112.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102112.

Improving monitoring and water point functionality in rural Ethiopia. 2018. Anthonj, Carmen, Lisa Fleming, Ryan Cronk, Samuel Godfrey, Argaw Ambelu, Jane Bevan, Emanuele Sozzi and Jamie Bartram. Water. 10(11): 1591. doi.org/10.3390/w10111591.

JANUARY 24, 2019


Benefit‐Cost Analysis of Community‐Led Total Sanitation: Incorporating Results from Recent Evaluations. Gates Foundation, January 2019. We find that CLTS interventions would pass a benefit-cost test in many situations, but that benefit-cost metrics are not as favorable as many previous studies suggest. We conclude that many communities will have economic investment opportunities that are more attractive than CLTS, and recommend careful economic analysis of CLTS in specific locations.


The impact of water consumption on hydration and cognition among schoolchildren: Methods and results from a crossover trial in rural Mali. PLoS One, January 2019. Although there was a trend indicating drinking water may improve cognitive test performance, as has been shown in studies in other settings, results were not statistically significant and were masked by a “practice effect.”

Latent variable modeling to develop a robust proxy for sensitive behaviors: application to latrine use behavior and its association with sanitation access in a middle-income country. BMC Public Health, January 2019. First and foremost, gender specific indicators, which may be different by life course stage, will likely provide better insight into population-level drivers of behavior and more accurate classification of latrine users. Second, inconsistent latrine use may have a different set of determinants than consistent latrine use, as these behaviors are not strictly opposites. Third, because psychosocial norms, attitudes, and beliefs may change over time, longitudinal analysis are required to determine if these indicators are temporally consistent.

Sand barriers around latrine pits reduce fecal bacterial leaching into shallow groundwater: a randomized controlled trial in coastal Bangladesh. Environ. Sci. Technol., January 2019.  The sand barrier latrine monitoring well samples had 0.38 mean log10MPN fewer E. coli and 0.38 mean log 10MPN fewer thermotolerant, compared to latrines without sand barriers, a reduction of 27% E. coli and 24% thermotolerant coliforms mean counts. A sand barrier can modestly reduce the risk presented by pit leaching.

Bacterial Contamination on Latrine Surfaces in Community and Household Latrines in Kathmandu, Nepal. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, January 2019. Results found almost no differences between bacterial contamination on latrine surfaces in community and household latrines, with the exception of latrine slabs/seats that were more contaminated in the community latrines under dirty conditions. The study also identified surfaces with higher levels of contamination. Findings demonstrated that well-maintained community latrines may be as clean, or cleaner, than household latrines and support the use of community latrines.

Development and validation protocol for an instrument to measure household water insecurity across cultures and ecologies: The Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale. BMJ Open, January 2019. There is no validated tool to measure individual- or household-level water insecurity equivalently across varying cultural and ecological settings. Accordingly, we are developing the Household Water Insecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale to measure household-level water insecurity in multiple contexts.


The Global Risks Report 2019. World Economic Forum, January 2019. Environmental risks continue to dominate the results of our annual Global Risks Perception Survey (GRPS).

An Introduction to Community Engagement in WASH. OXFAM, 2018. The principles and approaches described here are relevant in other programmes and sectors too, but the target audience for this guide is WASH staff in humanitarian programmes – especially those responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring public health promotion activities.


UNC Water Microbiology Conference 2019, May 14-16 – The Water Microbiology Conference 2019 creates a forum for researchers and practitioners focused on microbiology and public health issues to come together around the intersection of the two. This year’s conference focuses on water microbiology from watershed to human exposure including current concerns in recreational waters, shellfish harvesting waters, emerging technologies and quantitative tools.

International Desalination Association Conference 2019 – The International Desalination Association is pleased to announce its third Action4Good International Conference titled “Creating Resilient Solutions to Water Needs”, held at the Grand Miramare Hotel, located on the beautiful Corniche of Santa Margherita Portofino, Italy from May 12-14, 2019.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s