Waste, water and undernutrition: Evidence and policy perspectives

Convenor(s):
Action contre la faim; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Sanitation and Water for All; Scaling Up Nutrition Movement; The German WASH Network; The World Bank Group and WaterAid

Through a review of empirical evidence and policy and practice examples, this session will both summarise what we know on water, sanitation and stunting and promote a greater focus going forward on two specific areas where significant knowledge gaps remain: (a) how these elements interact in peri-urban areas; and (b) how the WASH sector – not just the nutrition sector – can adapt its plans and policies to address these.

A child who is stunted in early life – who fails to grow as tall as expected for their age – often has reduced physical and mental development. WASH plausibly influences child growth in multiple ways (Dangour et al, 2013). Empirical evidence across low and middle-income countries demonstrates that higher open defecation rates are associated with stunting and higher overall incidence of poverty.

Enhanced understanding of the links between WASH and undernutrition in recent years has informed improvements in multi-sectoral policies and programmes. However, substantial knowledge gaps remain. Research and programmes to date have largely focused on rural settings, but the extent to which the conditions of poverty, overcrowding and poor quality water and sanitation services interact to magnify these risks in densely populated peri-urban areas has received less attention.

 

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Thursday 11:00-12:30
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Credit: WaterAid/Kate Holt
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