Research on water economics, CLTS and other WASH research updates

The latest issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy has several interesting articles:

Evidence-based policy analysis? The strange case of the randomized controlled trials of community-led total sanitation. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Spring 2020. We show that cost–benefit analysis may still ‘save’ CLTS because small treatment effects may still yield net positive economic benefits if the costs of implementing CLTS programmes are modest. We also discuss the need to move beyond the desire for sanitation policies that are proven to be effective globally, and the importance of focusing on analysis of the local sanitation situation.

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Shelmel Terefa, a school teacher, demonstrates face washing to students at his school in Aware-Golje village in the North Shewa Zone, Oromia, Ethiopia. Photo credit: Michael Amendolia/The Fred Hollows Foundation

Rethinking the economics of water: an assessment. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Spring 2020. The conventional economic policy recommendations—privatization, pricing, and property rights—have struggled due to a failure to account adequately for the politics of water and the associated distributional conflicts.

We identify distinctive social and physical characteristics of water supply and demand, and explore their implications for three central areas of water policy: financing infrastructure, pricing, and property rights reform.

Rethinking the economics of rural water in Africa. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Spring 2020. We explore why rural water is different for communities, schools, and healthcare facilities across characteristics of scale, institutions, demand, and finance. The findings conclude with policy recommendations to (i) network rural services at scale, (ii) unlock rural payments by creating value, and (iii) design and test performance-based funding models at national and regional scales.

The paradox of water pricing: dichotomies, dilemmas, and decisions. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Spring 2020. First, the dichotomies between price and value, and costs, are defined to explain the paradox of water pricing: the price of water almost never equals its value and rarely covers its cost.

OTHER STUDIES

Prevention and control of cholera with household and community water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions: A scoping review of current international guidelines. PLoS One, January 2020. We systematically searched international agency websites to identify WASH intervention guidelines used in cholera programmes in endemic and epidemic settings. Recommendations listed in the guidelines were extracted, categorised and analyzed.

Variation in E. coli concentrations in open drains across neighborhoods in Accra, Ghana: The influence of onsite sanitation coverage and interconnectedness of urban environments. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, March 2020. These results underscore that neighborhood-level onsite sanitation improvements alone may not sufficiently reduce fecal hazards to public health from open drains. These findings supporting the need for integrated, city-level fecal sludge management alongside multifaceted interventions to reduce fecal contamination levels and human exposure.

Evidence of gut enteropathy and factors associated with undernutrition among slum-dwelling adults in Bangladesh. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2020. Always washing hands before eating or preparing foods (aOR: 0.33; 95% CI: 0.12, 0.87) were associated with reduced odds of undernutrition among the study population.

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