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WASH Advocates, Maternal Health Task Force Blog Feature ‘WASH & Women’s Health’ Series

In “the first [post] in the series ‘WASH & Women’s Health,’ which WASH Advocates is coordinating for the Maternal Health Task Force blog,” Rebecca Fishman, director of operations and special projects at WASH Advocates, writes, “The blog series will be published ahead of International Women’s Day (March 8), World Water Day (March 22), and…

Disruption Of Water, Sanitation Services Threaten Health In Syria; Conflict Causes Surge In Number Of Syrian Refugees

“The severe disruption of water and sanitation services and a lack of access to basic hygiene in Syria have increased the risk of waterborne diseases among children, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) [warned Friday], following a nationwide assessment,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The agency found that in areas affected by…

Focus Water, Sanitation Investments On Cholera Risk Zones, Aid Groups Say

“Aid groups are urging donors to invest in water and sanitation in areas known as hotbeds for cholera,” saying “while such projects might directly affect a relatively small population, the indirect impact in terms of cholera reduction could be immense,” IRIN reports. “The call comes as [non-governmental organizations (NGOs)], donors,…

Vaccinating 46% Of Haiti’s Population Could Control Cholera Epidemic, Study Concludes

“Vaccinating fewer than half of Haiti’s population of 10 million should brake a cholera epidemic that has claimed nearly 8,000 lives and made more than 635,000 people ill, scientists said Thursday,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Using a mathematical model, scientists in the United States determined that vaccination coverage of 46 percent of the…

True Solution To Cholera Is Improving Access To Safe Water, Sanitation

“[E]ven when it is not covered in the news or noticed by the public, cholera occurs regularly in the developing world, and the annual number of cases reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) has increased over the past few years to more than half a million cases and 7,816…

Cholera Strain From Guinea Identified As More Toxic, Contagious

“Scientists say the cholera outbreak that struck more than 7,000 people in Guinea this year was caused by a more toxic and more contagious generation of the bacteria,” and they “suspect the same strain killed nearly 300 people and struck more than 22,000 others in neighboring Sierra Leone,” VOA News reports. “Through genetic sequencing of the cholera bacteria found in Guinea, epidemiologists working with the United Nations Children’s Fund [UNICEF] have identified them as atypical variants of the O1 El Tor strain,” the news service writes. Francois Bellet, a member of UNICEF’s regional office for West and Central Africa, “said this discovery raises the alert level, requiring stronger epidemiological surveillance, preparedness and response to cholera outbreaks in Guinea and throughout the region,” according to VOA (Palus, 12/20). “This type of strain was present in Zimbabwe in 2009, in the Lake Chad Basin in 2009, and is found in Haiti currently,” IRIN notes (12/18).

WaterAid Report Urges Integration Of Menstrual Hygiene Issues Into Aid Policies

“Menstrual hygiene issues should be integrated into programs and policies across sectors, including water, sanitation and hygiene, reproductive health, emergency management, and education, notes a new report [.pdf]” by WaterAid, IRIN reports. Taboos and stigma associated with menstruation “leave many girls and women in low- and middle-income countries without access to sanitation facilities and excluded from school and opportunities,” the news service writes. According to IRIN, the report “illustrates good menstrual hygiene-related policies and interventions, and provides modules and toolkits on topics such as sanitary materials; working with communities; providing sanitary facilities in schools and emergency situations; and aiding girls and women in vulnerable, marginalized or special circumstances,” as well as “advocates further research and monitoring on these issues” (12/19).

WASH Improvements Necessary To Fight NTDs, And Vice Versa

“We know that in addition to drugs to treat and control [neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)], improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) can help prevent re-infection and contribute to lasting health, education and economic improvements,” Anupama Tantri, a senior program officer with the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, writes in the group’s “End the Neglect” blog. “The challenge is figuring out how to reach communities and enable these WASH improvements and NTD control activities,” she continues, highlighting efforts “to identify practical, concrete steps to help these sectors work together and ensure that efforts and resources reach these marginalized, neglected communities.” Tantri concludes, “The solutions are out there. We just need work together to end the neglect” (12/18).

Global Burden Of Disease Study Finds People Worldwide Living Longer, But With More Illness, Disability

“A sharp decline in deaths from malnutrition and infectious diseases like measles and tuberculosis has caused a shift in global mortality patterns over the past 20 years, according to a [study released] on Thursday, with far more of the world’s population now living into old age and dying from diseases mostly associated with rich countries, like cancer and heart disease,” the New York Times reports (Tavernise, 12/13). The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010, “published in the Lancet, has taken more than five years and involves 486 authors in 50 countries,” the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog notes (Mead, 12/13). Researchers worldwide “drew conclusions from nearly 100,000 data sources, including surveys, censuses, hospital records and verbal autopsies,” NPR’s “Shots” blog writes (Doucleff, 12/13). The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010 consists of “[s]even separate reports conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, the Harvard School of Public Health, and elsewhere [that] gauged people’s health in 187 countries and determined that developing countries are looking more like richer Westernized countries in terms of the health problems that pose the biggest burden: high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease,” according to the Boston Globe (Kotz, 12/13).

Some Diplomats, U.N. Observers Express ‘Concerns’ Over U.N. Appeal For Haitian Cholera Aid, Al Jazeera Reports

Following U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement on Tuesday of a new initiative appealing for $2.2 billion over 10 years to fight cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Al Jazeera reports “there are concerns by some diplomats and U.N. observers that the funds necessary for the program would not be forthcoming from donors.” As part of the larger appeal covering the island of Hispaniola, in Haiti “[t]he new program dedicates $215 million from donors along with $23.5 million from U.N. funds towards programs in public health, capacity building, public education, and clean water systems,” according to the news service. However, “Haiti will need $500 million over the next two years for its own national cholera plan,” Al Jazeera writes, adding, “The funds allocated in the program would therefore cover only one year.”

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