Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study supports action to tackle poor sanitation in developing countries

12.11.2007
Improvements in sanitation and sewerage systems can have a dramatic effect on reducing cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases, research has shown. The study, co-funded by the Wellcome Trust, has led scientists to call for action to improve urban sanitation as an effective way of improving health in developing countries.

According to the WHO, the number of cholera cases during 2006 was 236,896, with 6,311 deaths in 52 countries, a rise of 79% on the previous year. The importance of sanitation in preventing cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases was recognised in the Millennium Development Goals, which set a target of halving the number of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015. However, this target is unlikely to be achieved because the resources allocated to it are small. Part of the reason for this neglect of sanitation is the absence of rigorous evidence for its effectiveness in prevention of disease.

Now, in research published today in the journal The Lancet, Professor Mauricio Barreto and colleagues from the Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil, have shown that urban sanitation is a highly effective health measure.

In 1997, the city of Salvador in Brazil implemented a city-wide sanitation project, known as Bahia Azul, or Blue Bay. Its objective was to increase the number of households with an adequate sewer system from 26% to 80%, including extending the sewerage network, improving water supply and capacity-building in ten smaller towns in the state.

Professor Barreto and colleagues studied the health impact of the sanitation programme in reducing cases of diarrhoea in children under the age of three years old, working with two cohorts of around 1,000 children. Previous studies had evaluated sanitation only in small scale interventions, i.e latrines in village.

The researchers found that overall prevalence of diarrhoea fell by 22%. However, in high-risk areas, where sanitary conditions were poorest, overall prevalence fell by double this amount, down 43%, despite lower than average requests by households for sewer connections.

"These results show clearly that city-wide sanitation is effective at combating diarrhoea and related diseases," says Professor Barreto. "Importantly, they show that it has the biggest effect in the poorest areas, where sanitation – and hence, disease – is worst. Sanitation can be seen as being an equitable approach to tackling a major health problem."

In order to ensure that sanitation programmes are implemented, Professor Barreto believes that more needs to be done by international organisations and central government.

"It's usually up to the consumer to pay for sanitation, installing flush toilets, septic tanks and so on," he says. "However, there are limits to what can be achieved by individual households alone, especially when what is needed is not household toilets, which are already common, but sewers.

"At a typical cost of US$160 per person, cash-strapped municipalities cannot afford to invest in sewerage systems. International aid agencies and central government must take action to help tackle this serious health problem."

The research comes ahead of International Year of Sanitation 2008, which will be launched at the United Nations Headquarters on 21 November 2007.

Craig Brierley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>