Collaborating with WASH partners to eliminate schistosomiasis in Madagascar
WASH and schistosomiasis control partners met in Madagascar to determine ways to combine efforts to eliminate schistosomiasis.
The Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) at Imperial College London, has been supporting treatment programmes against schistosomiasis in Madagascar since 2014 and has been successful in treating 2.9 million school-age children to date.
However, without continued treatment in areas of poor sanitation and clean water, the disease will quickly bounce back to pre-intervention levels.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Madagascar therefore feel it is important to start implementing WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) initiatives in the country in order to make disease control activities more sustainable and set-up a long-term solution to achieve elimination.
With coordination by the MoH, representatives from the schistosomiasis and WASH communities, including SCI, UNICEF-WASH, the World Health Organization and the Madagascan Ministry of Education, met on 28 September to discuss ways they could collaborate to achieve shared goals in improving sanitation and access to clean water in areas that need it most, and to control and eliminate schistosomiasis.
The MoH are determined to make the implementation of WASH initiatives possible to help achieve a greater impact in schistosomiasis reduction, and with the strong will of the WASH and schistosomiasis control partners to support these initiatives, they are sure to help them realise their ambitions.
Dr Sarah Nogaro, SCI’s Programme Advisor for Madagascar says: "This is the start of an exciting new collaboration between the health and WASH sector in Madagascar.
Combining efforts from both sectors will mean the synergy will be even greater and a leap forward in reaching the targets set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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Malawi’s fight with bilharzia
At least seven million people in Malawi live in bilharzia-prone areas.
A mass campaign was launched to give drugs to people affected by bilharzia with the aim to reduce infections by the year 2020.
Most of these centers have been established in schools since they mainly target children from ages five to 14.
About three million children – half of the infected population – are receiving treatment for the disease.
Bilharzia is spread through use of contaminated water.
The risk of getting the disease among those in remote areas is especially high.
Prevention and awareness priority The Praziquantel drug which is used to treat bilharzia, used to be administered to children with empty stomachs.
Awareness campaigns have been running through the media, urging parents to take their children for treatment.
Matemba said awareness needs to be increased.
"The most important thing that the government needs to do is to invest into publicizing some of these important messages, because they are going to help the country, more especially in the tourism sector," Matemba said.
2 Billion People Drink Contaminated Water, Says WHO
2 Billion People Drink Contaminated Water, Says WHO.
The most serious threats are in impoverished and developing areas.
Although there has been a push for safe drinking water by the UN General Assembly, which led to a 4.9 percent increase in budgets worldwide, most countries say it is not enough.
The report found that 80 percent of countries are not adequately meeting the UN standards.
In a statement WHO said when people can’t provide the most basic necessities, like repairing infrastructure, water safety and reliability is sacrificed first.
"This is a challenge we have the ability to solve," Guy Ryder, chair of UN-Water and director-general of the International Labour Organization, said.
"Increased investments in water and sanitation can yield substantial benefits for human health and development, generate employment and make sure that we leave no one behind."
This is a heavy burden on local communities, but as Ryder said, it is possible.
To really meet UN standards, the world budget for drinking water would have to triple, that’s $114 billion annually, to provide underserved areas.
Governments can also step up their game by increasing and sustaining WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) access for vulnerable groups, especially in rural areas.
2b people drinking contaminated water: WHO
UNITED NATIONS – Against the backdrop of almost two billion people around the world relying on sources of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, the United Nations has called on countries to “radically” increase investments in water and sanitation infrastructure not only to protect their populations from deadly diseases but also to ensure that they are able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Contaminated drinking-water is estimated to cause more than 500,000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma,” Maria Neira, the Director of Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the UN World Health Organization (WHO), said in a statement on Thursday.
The UN report, Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water 2017, notes that while countries have increased their budgets for water, sanitation and hygiene at an average annual rate of about 4.9 per cent over the last three years, 80 per cent of countries have reported that the increase is still insufficient to meet nationally-defined targets for those services.
Therefore, in order to meet the ambitious SDG targets, which aim for universal access to safely managed water and sanitation services by 2030, countries need to use financial resources more efficiently as well as increase efforts to identify new sources of funding.
The Global Assessment also highlights that these efforts are particularly important for developing countries where current national coverage targets are based on achieving access to basic infrastructure and which may not necessarily provide continuously safe and reliable services.
According to estimates by the World Bank, investments in infrastructure need to triple to $114 billion per year – a figure which does not include operating and maintenance costs.While this funding gap is vast, there are recent examples of countries having demonstrated the ability to mobilize the needed resources to meet development targets.
of halving the proportion of people without an improved source of water, and 95 among them met the corresponding target for sanitation.
“Increased investments in water and sanitation can yield substantial benefits for human health and development, generate employment and make sure that we leave no one behind,” he said.
This news was published in The Nation newspaper.
Read complete newspaper of 14-Apr-2017 here.
Radical increase in water and sanitation investment required to meet development targets
Radical increase in water and sanitation investment required to meet development targets.
"Today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio," says Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.
The report stresses that countries will not meet global aspirations of universal access to safe drinking-water and sanitation unless steps are taken to use financial resources more efficiently and increase efforts to identify new sources of funding.
Yet, 80% of countries report that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) financing is still insufficient to meet nationally-defined targets for WASH services.
Planned investments have yet to take into account the much more ambitious SDG targets, which aim for universal access to safely managed water and sanitation services by 2030.
In order to meet the SDG global targets, the World Bank estimates investments in infrastructure need to triple to US $114 billion per year – a figure which does not include operating and maintenance costs.
Additional Findings: Official development assistance (ODA) disbursements for water and sanitation are increasing, but future investments are uncertain.
However, aid commitments for water and sanitation have declined since 2012 from US$ 10.4 billion to US$ 8.2 billion in 2015.
Considering the greater needs to make progress towards universal access to safely managed WASH services under the SDG targets, the possibility of future reductions in aid disbursements is at odds with global aspirations.
Safe drinking-water and sanitation are crucial to human welfare, by supporting health and livelihoods and helping to create healthy environments.