Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Nutrition Efforts: A Resource Guide

Published in: 2014
Pages: 7

WASH advocates

This resource guide includes manuals, reports, academic studies, and organizations working on WASH and nutrition. The guide can serve as a tool for implementers and advocates in the WASH/Nutrition nexus looking to pursue and promote integrated programming.

Content - Summary

Each year, more than one third of child deaths around the world are attributable to undernutrition. The dearth of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) education and essential WASH services frequently contributes to malnourishment, and recent initiatives have provided the impetus for enhanced WASH and nutrition programming efforts. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 50% of malnutrition is associated with recurrent bouts of diarrhea, which often result from unsafe water, insufficient sanitation, and inadequate hygiene.2 There is growing evidence that environmental enteropathy, an intestinal disease caused by chronic exposure to fecal bacteria, contributes to stunting through diverting energy toward fighting infection and away from growth. Safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, and proper hygiene can prevent undernutrition and stunting in children by inhibiting environmental enteropathy and diarrheal diseases. WASH can prevent protracted morbidity and reduce the 860,000 undernutrition-related child deaths that occur each year.

Researchers have estimated that WASH interventions reduce diarrheal disease by 30% to 60%, systematically reducing the prevalence of early childhood stunting. While there is a clear link between WASH and undernutrition, there is limited research on the impact of WASH interventions on nutrition. Studies have shown, however, that the most effective interventions are likely to be those that combine both improved nutrition and infection control and prevention efforts. Although program integration is not an emergent concept in public health, its vast potential has yet to be realized by the WASH and nutrition sectors.

Bibliographic information

WASH advocates (2014). Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Nutrition Efforts: A Resource Guide.


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