WASH and the neglected tropical diseases: A global manual for WASH implementers.
Introduction and Background. For centuries, humans have recognized the vital rolesthat access to safe water and toilets and practicing good hygiene play in maintaining human health and dignity. In spite of this recognition, development professionals must still justify investments in water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), typically by demonstrating the health impacts of such investments. The WASH sector often uses reduced incidence of diarrhea as the main indicator of improved health.While many donors or practitioners know of the impact of WASH on reducing diarrhea, few are aware that controlling and eliminating five of the so-called “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs) also requires WASH. The NTDs are a set of 17 chronic, disabling diseases that disproportionally affect the world’s poorest communities. While these diseases are rarely fatal, they cause high rates of morbidity that compromise the health, educational attainment, and economic opportunity of communities across the globe. The WASH and NTD sectors have a common target population—the world’s poorest citizens. This population lacks access to safe and reliable water services and sufficient sanitation or the tools to practice good hygiene behaviors. As a result, they suffer disproportionately from debilitating disease. Although the WASH and NTD sectors work in the same communities, they have historically worked in parallel rather than coordinating their efforts. This lack of coordination is due in part to the differenthealth outcomes on which each sector focuses. The WASH sector focuses on improved health, such as reduced diarrheal disease, and also on additional desired outcomes like improved livelihoods and overall well-being. The NTD sector, however, focuses mainly on providing treatment for diseases, with less emphasis on prevention. To better serve the poor, we urge the NTD and WASH sectors to collaborate. Such collaboration should ensure that communities have adequate and equitable access to water and sanitation, as well as the tools to practice good hygiene—all of which serve as the basis for prevention of the NTDs and other disabling diseases. We intend this manual to serve as a practical guide to WASH practitioners working to implement, support, and sustain WASH interventions at the country level. This manual will equip WASH-implementing organizations with the knowledge they need to target their interventions to NTD-vulnerable communities; to engage in and promote collaborative monitoring for NTD-specific health outcomes; and to communicate the impact of WASH on the NTDs for the purposes of advocacy and policy change. See link to full resource -