Sanitation boosts health, not stunted growth for Bangladeshi kids

The WASH Benefits Bangladesh trial is one of the first to examine what are known as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions as a way of improving children’s growth in low-income communities.
Children born into housing compounds with improvements in drinking water quality, sanitation, and handwashing infrastructure were not measurably taller after two years compared to those born into compounds with more contamination, a new study suggests.
Although children who received the interventions were significantly healthier overall, and despite mounting research over the last decade linking poor sanitation to stunted growth in children, sanitation improvements seemingly did nothing to improve growth and development.
Lancet Global Health, Jan 29, 2018.
Nutrient supplementation and counselling modestly improved linear growth, but there was no benefit to the integration of water, sanitation, and handwashing with nutrition.
Lancet Global Health, Jan 28, 2018.
Behaviour change messaging combined with technologically simple interventions such as water treatment, household sanitation upgrades from unimproved to improved latrines, and handwashing stations did not reduce childhood diarrhoea or improve growth, even when adherence was at least as high as has been achieved by other programmes.
Sustainable Water Partnership Launces Toolkit# 4: Funding Water Security – Financing can come from government taxes, user tariffs, international aid transfers and private sector investments.
Trop Med Intl Health, Feb 2018.
Trop Med Intl Health, Feb 2018.

Starting life strong in slums: the role of engaging vulnerable groups on sanitation and nutrition

Starting life strong in slums: the role of engaging vulnerable groups on sanitation and nutrition.
For example, forthcoming World Bank research from Bangladesh shows that children living in slums are 50 percent more likely to be stunted than children living in other urban areas.
Tragically, these effects are often passed on to offspring, trapping families in poverty and malnutrition for generations, as per findings in a forthcoming World Bank report called Uncharted Waters.
Improvements in sanitation are a necessary but insufficient contribution to eliminate stunting and malnutrition among the urban poor.
Following the recommendations of the just launched report on WASH Poverty Diagnostic, the water, sanitation, health and nutrition sectors need to work jointly to ensure that improvements in WASH services and nutritious food systems translate into improvements in child health.
We recommend the following three actions: Firstly, nutrition and WASH services need to be inclusive of all groups to have the greatest impact on child nutrition.
In Ethiopia, a new Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Project includes support to slum areas and uses urban health extension workers to carry out sanitation and hygiene behavior change.
One of the key components of this program is the establishment of a sustainable supply chain of household drinking water filters that help households to filter their tap, well or rain water without the need to boil or use electricity.
Another key component of the Baduta project in Indonesia is a behavior change campaign called Rumpi Sehat (Healthy Gossip), designed to promote exclusive breastfeeding, optimal complementary feeding and safe WASH practices.
Today, at Stockholm World Water Week, stakeholders from the water and nutrition sectors are coming together to discuss the evidence, policy and practice examples of how we can effectively address stunting in slums and informal settlements.

World Food Programme Nutrition Activities in Yemen – June 2017

World Food Programme Nutrition Activities in Yemen – June 2017.
With up to 67 percent of children under five years chronically malnourished (stunted), and rates of acute malnutrition (wasting) exceeding 25 percent in some governorates, the physical and mental development of Yemeni children is severely at risk, a disadvantage from which they cannot recover if appropriate actions are not undertaken in the critical period from conception to the first two years of life.
In addition to poor food consumption, factors contributing to these critical levels of undernutrition are poor infant and young child feeding and care practices, limited access to improved (safe) drinking water, and a high disease burden.
Activities Under its Emergency Operation 201068, WFP will target 1.9 million children and women through its nutrition activities.
Acutely malnourished pregnant and breast-feeding women will receive a monthly 6 kg take-home ration of a fortified blended flour, SuperCereal, from the beginning of the second trimester though to six months of breastfeeding.
Through blanket supplementary feeding programme activities, children 6 to 23 months will receive preventative monthly 1.5 kg entitlements of a lipid-based nutrient supplement, Plumpy’Doz, which provides a daily 281 kcal and essentiai micronutrients.
To avert a looming nutrition catastrophe, WFP, in collaboration with its key partners – UNICEF, WHO and the Nutrition Cluster partners – will provide an integrated package of nutrition and food assistance with complementary activities that use limited resources by focusing on areas at the highest risk in order to meet the immediate needs of the most vulnerable and respond to the needs of each Yemeni family as a whole.
In April 2017, 16,356 moderate acutely malnourished (MAM) children 6 to 59 months- out of the planned 72,575 children 6 to 59 months- and 14,839 acutely malnourished pregnant and lactating women (PLW) -out of the planned 46,040 – were admitted into WFP’s targeted supplementary feeding programmes (TSFP) through 561 health facilities and 99 mobile clinics in 13 governorates.
WFP’s blanket supplementary feeding programme (BSFP) for prevention of acute and chronic malnutrition admitted 142 children 6 to 23 months out of the planned 20,945 in the same governorates.
In the TSFP, 82 percent of MAM children were discharged as cured, 17 percent defaulted, and less than 1 percent died, while 97 percent of PLW admitted in March were discharged as cured, 2 percent defaulted and no deaths were recorded.

No quick-fixes again to farmer unrest, please

No quick-fixes again to farmer unrest, please.
Recent UN reports project that by 2050, global population will rise from the current total of 7 billion to about 9 billion.
The imperative for such tremendous agricultural boost will hit developing economies the hardest, where the challenge is not just to produce adequate food (with appropriate nutritional traits) but to ensure easy access of the same to the masses.
Unfortunately, the main reason behind such depletion is irrigational drafting itself.
And this is a key reason why providing free electricity (a major farmer demand), will only aggravate the situation.
Recent estimates of the Central Electrical Authority (CES) project national electricity demand to rise from 776 TW-h in 2012 to about 2500 TW-h in 2030.
In the past few years drought has become a key resistance to agricultural yield that needs to be addressed on priority basis.
In 2014 this was 69 per cent and in 2012, about 44 per cent, which indicates increasing prevalence of drought.
Today almost 1 billion people are undernourished globally, and particularly in Asia (578 million).
The problem is, all these will have to happen on existing agricultural land (which is a finite quantity).

Helping cattle deal with drought

Helping cattle deal with drought.
I have copied it below.
“Drought generates increased poisoning risks for livestock due to reduced availability, timing shifts and physiological changes in the “desired” forages on rangelands and pastures.
Impacts of toxic and poisonous plant consumption can be as obvious as rapid death, as gradual as hair loss, or as discrete as early abortions and/or failing to breed.
Drought reduces the production level and availability of desirable forages causing livestock to be more willing to consume “novelty” plants and/or plants that had a previous negative feedback.
Native toxic plants are not recognized as strange by managers since they had been on-site previously and never generated a problem.
Examples of this might be consumption of Poison Suckleya which greens up on the borders of drying reservoirs (acute and lethal) or consumption of Death Camas sprouting in meadows after grass has thinned out the previous fall.
Drought generates poisoning risk due to shifts in desirable plant production if livestock managers do not shift “turn out” dates to match production.
An example of this situation is cattle moving under coniferous trees and consuming pine needles which contain tannin resulting in abortions.
Drought can cause physiological shifts in normal plants that generate toxic conditions such as forcing plants to pull very hard for nutrients from their roots or disrupting cell structure so that a plant cannot disperse nutrient normally through its vascular system.

Recent sanitation and health research

Recent sanitation and health research.
Evidence-based approaches to childhood stunting in low and middle income countries: a systematic review.
Nutrition education and counselling, growth monitoring and promotion, immunisation, water, sanitation and hygiene and social safety net programmes appear to be the most commonly included interventions of an effective package in most low and middle income countries settings.
Single interventions reduced stunting only in countries with specific disease burden.
Tropical Medicine International Health, May 2017.
Lack of water near the food preparation area, longer storage duration, storing food uncovered, temperatures >25 °C in the food storage area, flies captured in food preparation area and hand contact with food while serving were all factors that significantly contributed to high levels of E. coli contamination throughout the year, independent of season.
The presence of animals in the compound was associated with an increase in E. coli counts.
Impact of the Integration of Water Treatment, Hygiene, Nutrition, and Clean Delivery Interventions on Maternal Health Service Use.
(Abstract/order) American Jnl of Tropical Med & Hyg, May 2017.
This evaluation suggested that hygiene, nutritional, clean delivery incentives, higher education level, and geographical contiguity to health facility were associated with increased use of maternal health services by pregnant women

Research unravels mysteries of mouthparts of butterflies

A study by Matthew Lehnert, Ph.D., assistant professor of biological sciences at Kent State Stark, shows that the method in which flies and butterflies ingest liquids into their own bodies for nourishment may be used as a model for delivering disease-fighting drugs to the human body.
Drug delivery systems are engineered technologies for the targeted delivery and/or controlled release of therapeutic agents.
This study also found that there is a limiting pore size from which each individual can feed — butterflies and flies with smaller mouthpart channels will be able to feed on liquids from smaller pores, which might have an advantage for the insects and more broadly for the ecosystem in case of a drought.
Lehnert, three of his Kent State Stark undergraduate student assistants and four other researchers found that flies, butterflies and moths (20 percent of all animals) use capillary action, or the movement of liquids seamlessly from one place to another, as the guiding principle when feeding on liquid films — their primary source of food.
An insect’s proboscis, a body part that allows them to drink liquids, acts like a highly-sophisticated sponge and straw that uses capillary action to send nectar or other liquids to the insect’s diges tive system.
In order to feed on nectar and other liquid films, natural selection has favored the evolution of specialized mouthparts in fluid-feeding insects.
In butterflies and flies, the mouthparts consist of a proboscis adapted for using capillary action to pull thin films of fluid from surfaces for subsequent feeding.
By copying this natural method, scientists say the mouthparts of flies and butterflies can serve as models for developing new devices for improved drug delivery systems.
Journal Reference: Matthew S. Lehnert, Andrew Bennett, Kristen E. Reiter, Patrick D. Gerard, Qi-Huo Wei, Miranda Byler, Huan Yan, Wah-Keat Lee.
ScienceDaily, 13 April 2017.