Category Archives: Research

Unsafe Drinking Water Is Associated with Environmental Enteric Dysfunction and Poor Growth Outcomes in Young Children in Rural Southwestern Uganda

Unsafe Drinking Water Is Associated with Environmental Enteric Dysfunction and Poor Growth Outcomes in Young Children in Rural Southwestern Uganda. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 22 October 2018. ajtmh-logo

Environmental enteric dysfunction (EED), a subclinical disorder of the small intestine, and poor growth are associated with living in poor water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) conditions, but specific risk factors remain unclear.

Nested within a birth cohort study, this study investigates relationships among water quality, EED, and growth in 385 children living in southwestern Uganda. Water quality was assessed using a portable water quality test when children were 6 months, and safe water was defined as lacking Escherichia coli contamination.

Overall, our data suggest that programs seeking to improve nutrition should address poor WASH conditions simultaneously, particularly related to household drinking water quality.

WASH for Life: Stage 2 Grantee Profiles

WASH For Life: Stage 2 Grantee Profiles. Mathematica Policy Research Reports, September 2018.

This booklet presents profiles of projects funded by WASH for Life, a $17 million grant facility for innovative water, sanitation, and hygiene projects with the potential to scale, managed by USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures and co-funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Assessing equity: a way to improve sanitation service delivery in South African informal settlements

Assessing equity: a way to improve sanitation service delivery in South African informal settlements. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development, September 2018.

This paper discusses the need to incorporate equity assessment into the planning and monitoring of sanitation service delivery to South African informal settlements. Equity assessment criteria were drawn from literature and a study of sanitation service delivery to informal settlements in three South African municipalities (Cape Town, Johannesburg and eThekwini) over the period 2012–2015. wash

Three key dimensions of equity – resource allocation, access and stakeholder perceptions – were identified. These had eight associated criteria: (1) funds allocated for basic sanitation, (2) number of staff allocated to informal settlements, (3) disparities in access, (4) proportion of functioning sanitation facilities, (5) menstrual hygiene management (MHM) inclusion, (6) access to information, (7) meets users’ notions of dignity, and (8) integration of the perspectives of key stakeholders.

Key findings of the study indicate that the current focus on reducing service backlogs largely ignores equity and there is a need to better address this through the incorporation of: equity assessments, improving access to information, and the inclusion of marginalised communities in the planning of sanitation services.

2018 WEDC conference papers on WASH financing, MHM, WASH in schools

WEDC conference papers are an important source for learning about WASH innovations and lessons learned in the field and more than 150 papers were accepted for the 2018 WEDC conference. Here is the link to all of the papers and selected papers are listed below, by topic:



Continue reading

Mapping the evidence on WASH promotion in communities, schools and health facilities – 3ie Impact

Mapping the evidence on WASH promotion in communities, schools and health facilities. 3ie Impact, August 2018.  three


  • The number of rigorous studies on WASH promotion in households, schools and communities has increased substantially.
  • Very few rigorous studies exist on WASH promotion in medical facilities.
  • Many new studies evaluate previously under-researched approaches, such as community-led total sanitation, and measure important sector outcomes, including school attendance and reducing open defecation.
  • More studies are needed to measure programme effects on the sustained use of technologies and slippage back to open defecation.
  • A critical need exists for studies on promotional approaches for vulnerable populations, especially people living with disabilities, for whom no studies are available. New, high-quality systematic reviews are available, including ones on the effectiveness of hygiene and sanitation behavioural approaches and menstrual hygiene management.
  • Synthesis gaps remain for high-quality reviews on WASH interventions in schools and on decentralised delivery

Aug 22 webinars and recent WASH research


Aug 22, 2018: 6:00 pm EST – The Forgotten Juncture? Handwashing and Safe Management of Child Feces – This webinar, entitled The Forgotten Juncture? Handwashing and Safe Management of Child Feces will be co-hosted by the Global Handwashing Partnership, USAID, UNICEF, WEDC, and the International Water Centre

Aug 22, 2018: 9:00 am EST – Strengthening the Health System for Sustainable WASH Improvements: Adopting a Health Systems Approach at All Levels of WASH in HCF Programs – A new action-oriented learning program that brings together the WASH and health communities to focus on policy, evidence, and practice in WASH in HCFs. On monthly webinars, we will discuss experiences, challenges, successes, and lessons learned on topics within WASH in HCF.


The effect of SODIS water treatment intervention at the household level in reducing diarrheal incidence among children under 5 years of age: a cluster randomized controlled trial in Dabat district, northwest Ethiopia. BMC Trials, July 31. The SODIS intervention substantially reduced the incidence of diarrhea among under-five children in a rural community of northwest Ethiopia.

Are schoolchildren less infected if they have good knowledge about parasitic worms? A case study from rural Côte d’Ivoire. BMC Public Health, Aug 2. Specific knowledge about different types of helminths might not suffice to induce behavioural change which in turn reduces infection and reinfection with helminths.

Bacterial contamination of frequently touched objects in a tertiary care hospital of Pokhara, Nepal: how safe are our hands? Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, Aug 6. High bacterial contamination of frequently touched objects with variety of potential pathogens and normal flora was detected. S. aureus was the most common bacterial isolate.


Child Height in India: Facts and Interpretations from the NFHS-4, 2015–16. Diane Coffey; Dean Spears, Aug 6. Factor (2)—the extent of open defecation—can be estimated using data from the NFHS-4. Coffey and Spears (2018) find that between the NFHS-3 and the NFHS-4, open defecation in India went down by 16.4 percentage points, from 55.3% to 38.9%. Combined with the Gertler et al (2015) effect estimate, this change in average exposure to open defecation would predict an increase in average height-for-age of 0.077 of a height-for-age standard deviation, due to improved sanitation.

Re-engineering the world’s trillion-dollar waste ecosystem. Medium, July 26. The Toilet Board Coalition wants to see recycling and reuse of biological waste become mainstream. It’s working with entrepreneurs and municipalities to find scalable ways to do it.

The impact of digitalisation on the water sector – An interview with Rebekah Eggers. IWA, Aug 7. We asked Rebekah Eggers, IBM’s WW IoT for Energy, Environment, & Utilities Business, and keynote speaker at the IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2018, what ‘going digital’ / ‘digitalisation’ really means for the sector, how to overcome key barriers to successfully digitise water, and ultimately, who can reap the benefits of this technological revolution.


Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Characteristics among HIV-Positive Households Participating in the Global Enterics Multicenter Study in Rural Western Kenya, 2008–2012. AJTMH, Aug 6. This suggests that within this region of Kenya, HIV programs are effective in promoting the importance of practicing positive WASH-related behaviors among PLHIV.

9 WASH studies published so far in August 2018

Sachet water quality and product registration: a cross-sectional study in Accra, Ghana. Jnl Water Health, Aug 2018.
The results of this study suggest that while a substantial proportion of sachet water is sold without formal product registration, the microbial quality of the unlicensed water is consistently high in Accra, Ghana.

Access to drinking water: time matters. Jnl Water Health, Aug 2018.
This study aims to demonstrate the effect of adding a 30-minute collection time component to monitor access to drinking water. This study draws on household surveys from 17 countries to highlight the widespread burden of fetching water and its significant impact on estimates of coverage.

Acceptability and Feasibility of Sharing a Soapy Water System for Handwashing in a Low-Income Urban Community in Dhaka, Bangladesh: A Qualitative Study. AJTMH, Aug 2018.
Soapy water was an acceptable hand cleaning agent, with the bottle as a feasible dispenser. It was simple in design, cost-effective, replicable, popular with intervention recipient, and neighboring nonrecipients, and commonly shared among nonrelated households. The need to share expenses and product preparation served as a barrier.

Continue reading