Improving child development outcomes: the role of WASH

Everyone has the right to safely managed sanitation and hygiene. While progress has been made over the last 5 years, access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene remains elusive for billions of people across the globe. According to recent data from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), over 3.6 billion people do not have access to a safely managed sanitation service, with 494 million people still practicing open defecation. Furthermore, 2.3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities at home. We need to make sure no one is left behind in the drive to secure safe services for all by 2030.

Three boys washing their hands
Nossal Institute for Global Health, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health have been commissioned by Sanitation Learning Hub at the Institute of Development Studiesin the UK to explore the interlinkages between environmental cleanliness, sanitation, and hygiene practices for improved child development outcomes.

The Institute will identify barriers and gaps in knowledge towards achieving these outcomes; and seek to understand how programmes can be adapted to address the complexity of these challenges.

Ms Alison Macintyre, Project Lead, has 10 years of experience working on research and evidence synthesis on the interlinkages of WASH and human health. Her most recently her research has covered assessing hand hygiene during labour, delivery and the early neonatal period in health care facilities in Cambodia, in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

This is an opportunity to take a more holistic view will contribute to understanding how WASH and one health approaches may best support health and child development.

Alison Macintyre

The Frontiers of Sanitation report is scheduled to be released late 2021.

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Alison Macintyre