Water and Sanitation

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IRIN Examines Risk Of Waterborne Diseases In Zimbabwe

IRIN examines how a lack of sanitation facilities and access to clean water, as well as the onset of the rainy season, are increasing the risk of waterborne diseases in rural areas of Zimbabwe. A 2009 survey, “compiled by the government and U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), listed diarrhea as one of the major causes of infant mortality resulting in around 4,000 deaths in Zimbabwe annually” and “showed a 20 percent increase in under-five mortality since 1990,” IRIN writes.

‘Taboo’ Surrounding Toilets, Sanitation Hindering Progress Toward Improved Access

“Governments are failing to fund projects to improve access to toilets and other sanitation services in poor countries because the subject remains ‘taboo,’ a director at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said on Monday,” Reuters reports. “About 1.1 billion people across the world still defecate in the open because they have no toilets, according to the United Nations,” Reuters writes. “It’s the last big taboo and as a result more than one million kids die every year. Diarrhea is the second largest cause of death after respiratory infections in young children,” Frank Rijsberman, director of water, sanitation and hygiene at the foundation, said at the Global Water Summit 2012 conference in Rome, the news service notes.

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aidsmap: One in five exposed to TB during HIV clinic visits, Malawi study finds (Alcorn, 10/1). Associated Press: Zimbabwe in huge cholera vaccination drive after 49 deaths (10/3). BBC News: The battle for better disability rehab in North Africa (Daniels, 10/1). BBC News: Cervical cancer: Australia ‘to be first to…

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Agence France-Presse: Yemen doctors despair as babies starve in ‘orphaned province’ (9/28). CNN: World’s first human case of rat disease discovered (Senthilingam/Picheta, 9/28). Deutsche Welle: When nature calls, there’s a problem in parts of Ghana (Kaledzi, 9/28). Devex: Can faith groups convince Australia to act on foreign aid (Cornish, 10/1).…

CEOs, NGOs Send Open Letter To Congress Asking For Support Of Water For The World Act

Last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent the Water for the World Act (S 641) to the Senate for a floor vote, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs is set to vote on a companion bill, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2012 (HR 3658), PSI’s “Healthy Lives” blog notes, adding that “a coalition of CEOs of NGOs have published an open letter [.pdf] encouraging the House Foreign Affairs Committee to allow the bill to be voted upon in the House floor” (6/28). The letter states, “HR 3658, like its companion S 641, has strong bipartisan support, does not seek new funds, and builds on decades of successful US‐led programs to make even better use of existing resources. This is the year to ensure that the bill becomes law,” and continues, “Because it builds on the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, the Water for the World Act of 2012 is a cost‐free approach to benefiting families, communities, and even the global economy.” The letter concludes by asking members of Congress to co-sponsor the House bill and urge the House committee to pass it (6/20).

Opinion Pieces Address Child Survival Call to Action

The governments of the United States, India, and Ethiopia, in collaboration with UNICEF, on Thursday launched the Child Survival Call to Action in Washington, D.C., during a two-day event that brings together world leaders, public health experts, child health advocates and others in an effort to reduce child mortality to 20 per 1,000 by 2035 worldwide, with the ultimate goal of ending preventable child deaths. The following summarizes several opinion pieces addressing the effort.

Communal Violence In India Forces Up To 400,000 Into Overcrowded Camps Without Sufficient Food, Water, Medicine

“Hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in squalid, overcrowded camps in India’s northeast desperately need food, water and medicines after fleeing some of the worst communal violence in a decade, officials and aid workers said on Monday,” AlertNet reports. Up to 400,000 people have fled to government-run camps in Assam state, the news service notes, adding Assam’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We are in a state of high alert. … People in the camps are suffering from diarrhea, dysentery, malaria and high fever. We are concerned about the condition of the babies and pregnant women.” According to AlertNet, “Sarma said around 8,000 children under two-years-old are sick, while hundreds of others have tested positive for malaria. There are also around 4,000 pregnant women in the camps who need medical support, he added.” The news service notes that at least 12 people have died, including four children (Bhalla, 8/6).

Women In Developing Countries Could Play Major Role In Sanitation Crisis, Study Finds

“Women in developing countries could play a major role in remedying the situation, if given the chance,” Jeanette Brown, a scientist with the University of Connecticut in Storrs, said on Monday at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), an American Chemical Society press release reports. “A study by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities found that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that do not,” Brown said in a speech on the global crisis in availability of clean water and basic sanitation, the press release states. “However, she said that women often do not have the opportunity to work on such projects because they lack education, or local cultural rules prevent education for women and even prohibit their using local toilet facilities,” the press release adds (8/20).

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