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London, United Kingdom

Sustainability is a major issue in the WASH sector and financial sustainability in particular needs more attention. We need to find better ways of covering the recurrent costs of water and sanitation, particularly in reaching the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Innovative approaches to financing, including recent ideas such as development impact bonds and municipal bonds, are to be welcomed. However, we must also exercise caution and not value novelty over outcome. One recent example is the rise of water projects funded by the carbon market. This article highlights some of the key risks and potential pitfalls of such schemes. The aim is not to target any single developer or scheme, but to highlight the key issues so that they can be addressed and everyone can have confidence in the impact of these activities - avoiding reputational issues and accusations of 'greenwashing'. © Practical Action Publishing, 2013. Source

Adams A.M.,Center for Equity and Health Systems | Rabbani A.,University of Dhaka | Ahmed S.,Center for Equity and Health Systems | Mahmood S.S.,Center for Equity and Health Systems | And 4 more authors.
The Lancet

By disaggregating gains in child health in Bangladesh over the past several decades, signifi cant improvements in gender and socioeconomic inequities have been revealed. With the use of a social determinants of health approach, key features of the country's development experience can be identifi ed that help explain its unexpected health trajectory. The systematic equity orientation of health and socioeconomic development in Bangladesh, and the implementation attributes of scale, speed, and selectivity, have been important drivers of health improvement. Despite this impressive pro-equity trajectory, there remain signifi cant residual inequities in survival of girls and lower wealth quintiles as well as a host of new health and development challenges such as urbanisation, chronic disease, and climate change. Further progress in sustaining and enhancing equity-oriented achievements in health hinges on stronger governance and longer-term systems thinking regarding how to eff ectively promote inclusive and equitable development within and beyond the health system. Source

Bain R.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Cronk R.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Wright J.,University of Southampton | Yang H.,University of Southampton | And 2 more authors.
PLoS Medicine

Background:Access to safe drinking-water is a fundamental requirement for good health and is also a human right. Global access to safe drinking-water is monitored by WHO and UNICEF using as an indicator "use of an improved source," which does not account for water quality measurements. Our objectives were to determine whether water from "improved" sources is less likely to contain fecal contamination than "unimproved" sources and to assess the extent to which contamination varies by source type and setting.Methods and Findings:Studies in Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish were identified from online databases, including PubMed and Web of Science, and grey literature. Studies in low- and middle-income countries published between 1990 and August 2013 that assessed drinking-water for the presence of Escherichia coli or thermotolerant coliforms (TTC) were included provided they associated results with a particular source type. In total 319 studies were included, reporting on 96,737 water samples. The odds of contamination within a given study were considerably lower for "improved" sources than "unimproved" sources (odds ratio [OR] = 0.15 [0.10-0.21], I2 = 80.3% [72.9-85.6]). However over a quarter of samples from improved sources contained fecal contamination in 38% of 191 studies. Water sources in low-income countries (OR = 2.37 [1.52-3.71]; p<0.001) and rural areas (OR = 2.37 [1.47-3.81] p<0.001) were more likely to be contaminated. Studies rarely reported stored water quality or sanitary risks and few achieved robust random selection. Safety may be overestimated due to infrequent water sampling and deterioration in quality prior to consumption.Conclusion:Access to an "improved source" provides a measure of sanitary protection but does not ensure water is free of fecal contamination nor is it consistent between source types or settings. International estimates therefore greatly overstate use of safe drinking-water and do not fully reflect disparities in access. An enhanced monitoring strategy would combine indicators of sanitary protection with measures of water quality.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary. © 2014 Bain et al. Source

Bain R.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Cronk R.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Hossain R.,World Health Organization | Bonjour S.,World Health Organization | And 7 more authors.
Tropical Medicine and International Health

Objectives: To estimate exposure to faecal contamination through drinking water as indicated by levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) or thermotolerant coliform (TTC) in water sources. Methods: We estimated coverage of different types of drinking water source based on household surveys and censuses using multilevel modelling. Coverage data were combined with water quality studies that assessed E. coli or TTC including those identified by a systematic review (n = 345). Predictive models for the presence and level of contamination of drinking water sources were developed using random effects logistic regression and selected covariates. We assessed sensitivity of estimated exposure to study quality, indicator bacteria and separately considered nationally randomised surveys. Results: We estimate that 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water which suffers from faecal contamination, of these 1.1 billion drink water that is of at least 'moderate' risk (>10 E. coli or TTC per 100 ml). Data from nationally randomised studies suggest that 10% of improved sources may be 'high' risk, containing at least 100 E. coli or TTC per 100 ml. Drinking water is found to be more often contaminated in rural areas (41%, CI: 31%-51%) than in urban areas (12%, CI: 8-18%), and contamination is most prevalent in Africa (53%, CI: 42%-63%) and South-East Asia (35%, CI: 24%-45%). Estimates were not sensitive to the exclusion of low quality studies or restriction to studies reporting E. coli. Conclusions: Microbial contamination is widespread and affects all water source types, including piped supplies. Global burden of disease estimates may have substantially understated the disease burden associated with inadequate water services. © 2014 The Authors. Tropical Medicine and International Health published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Cronk R.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Slaymaker T.,WaterAid | Bartram J.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health

Inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) in non-household settings, such as schools, health care facilities, and workplaces impacts the health, education, welfare, and productivity of populations, particularly in low and middle-income countries. There is limited knowledge on the status of WaSH in such settings. To address this gap, we reviewed international standards, international and national actors, and monitoring initiatives; developed the first typology of non-household settings; and assessed the viability of monitoring. Based on setting characteristics, non-household settings include six types: schools, health care facilities, workplaces, temporary use settings, mass gatherings, and dislocated populations. To-date national governments and international actors have focused monitoring of non-household settings on schools and health care facilities with comparatively little attention given to other settings such as workplaces and markets. Nationally representative facility surveys and national management information systems are the primary monitoring mechanisms. Data suggest that WaSH coverage is generally poor and often lower than in corresponding household settings. Definitions, indicators, and data sources are underdeveloped and not always comparable between countries. While not all countries monitor non-household settings, examples are available from countries on most continents suggesting that systematic monitoring is achievable. Monitoring WaSH in schools and health care facilities is most viable. Monitoring WaSH in other non-household settings would be viable with: technical support from local and national actors in addition to international organizations such as WHO and UNICEF; national prioritization through policy and financing; and including WaSH indicators into monitoring initiatives to improve cost-effectiveness. International consultations on targets and indicators for global monitoring of WaSH post-2015 identified non-household settings as a priority. National and international monitoring systems will be important to better understand status, trends, to identify priorities and target resources accordingly, and to improve accountability for progressive improvements in WaSH in non-household settings. © 2015 Elsevier GmbH. Source

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