Working together to promote integration

Feb 18, 2011


Serena O'Sullivan
End Water Poverty

End Water Poverty knows about the water and sanitation crisis that's killing 4000 children a day.

We know that it's a crisis affecting 2.6 billion people and threatening the development of many countries across Africa and South Asia. We also know that it's having an especially damning affect on the health of the most marginalised communities, and it's time that governments implementing health, nutrition, water and sanitation programmes knew this too, and started tackling them together.

Diarrhoea is a health issue the world cannot ignore. The statistics speak for themselves. Half of all hospital beds in Sub-Saharan Africa are taken with those suffering from preventable diarrhoeal diseases (UNDP). Diarrhoea kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined (WHO) and it severely undermines progress on nutrition.

Again and again we hear stories from the field about how progress in health systems is being undermined by a lack of progress in providing water and sanitation. I spoke to a nurse from Uganda who said she wasted hours each day fetching water for her new clinic from a borehole miles away - time that could have been spent treating patients if the clinic had been built with a safe water supply.

So we're very excited about a new study, kicked off by End Water Poverty, PATH, Tearfund, Action for Global Health, and WaterAid. It's a study that hopes to capture best practice in the integration of health, nutrition and WASH services and programmes. Once we've compiled these great examples and written recommendations, we can then approach those that design health and WASH services in developing countries that they need to take an integrated approach if they are truly to affect change for those who need it most.

We are now asking if others would like to contribute to the study alongside these other great organisations. If you're interested, take a look at this link to participate - we'd love you to be involved.