The WHO/UNICEF position paper summarizes the studies, contextualizes the findings within the wider body of evidence and distills the implications for future investments. The paper is accompanied by a recorded interview with the heads of WASH for WHO and UNICEF and the lead author of a consensus statement from leading researchers.
An excerpt – What are the implications for WASH programming?
The findings of WASH Benefits and SHINE are not a reason to do less on WASH. Conversely, the historical significance of WASH in disease control, the strong conceptual basis for WASH (Box 2) and the need for WASH to reduce the potential for outbreaks in addition to breaking endemic transmission all indicate that the WASH sector collectively needs to do more and better to reach the ambitious targets of the SDGs.
The findings also highlight blind spots in typical WASH programming – particularly the role of animal waste and fecal contamination of food during irrigation and food preparation that are often overlooked in WASH programme design.
Many have called for transformative WASH In response to the studies but with some ambiguity around what is meant. While the consensus is that this implies interventions that lead to a comprehensively clean environment (Box 1), the path to this result is not universally agreed.