Surviving as an unequal community: WASH for those on the margins (O'…
Surviving as an unequal community: WASH for those on the margins (O'Reilly 2016)
Water and Sanitation
MDG for improved access to improved drinking water met in 2010, however MDG for sanitation missed by 700 million people, 2.4 billion lacked access to improved or hygienic sanitation in 2015
Rural most likely, plus defecate in the open, 1 bn and most live in India
Easiest way to safely dispose of human faeces is to deposit it somewhere where they will not come into contact with water and food or humans, animals and insects that spead contamination
Safe sanitation can be simply defecating in a hole and covering it up securely, or maintaining latrines and having the ability to do so
The Survival of the most vulnerable
Diarrhoea is the second leading cause of death, and preventable
Recent evidence links children's height to household hygiene practices, gastrointestinal infections impact nutrient absorption, leading to malnutrition that contributes to stunting
It is common knowledge that access to clean water and sanitation will lead to improvements in public health. But this conventional wisdom requires some unpacking. For example, clean water may be clean at the source, but can easily become contaminated by unwashed hands, unhygienic storage, and flies. It is well-known in the
Indian context that access to sanitation does not necessarily mean that family members will use it, and may chose to defecate in the open instead (Mara et al. 2010). Evidence suggests that high levels of coverage and use at the community level are necessary to reduce disease associated with fecal contamination (Emerson et al. 2001).
Beyond surviving to living with dignity
Eliminating open defecation could significantly diminish the spread of diarrheal diseases that can lead to death, malnutrition and stunting
MDG report that the rich begin with greater access to WASH services and are those who enjoy the greatest improvements in services. By contrast, the poorest of the poor are the least likely to have services and remain the most underserved. All regions with the least access to sanitation exhibit large inequalities between the richest and the poorest 20 %, and these broad categories can be additionally parsed into rural/urban dwellers and the kind of services they receive
The reasons for why the world’s poorest are the poorest can be explained by geographic factors, political-economy, and social marginality.
provision of WASH services to marginal communities requires a concerted, long-term effort. However, the effort goes beyond outreach to these poor communities. Efforts inside communities to address social inequalities are also
required. For example, Community Led Total Sanitation approaches that galvanize rural communities into latrine building for all and community monitoring of open
defecators have had great success in Bangladesh, where CLTS was developed
Middle class urban residents malign the poor for contaminating their cities, without acknowledging how
social and political inequalities generate the disparities of class often found contained within the cities of developing countries.
Not only do the urban poor struggle to meet their livelihood needs, they struggle to meet their hygiene and sanitation needs without an infrastructure that supports either
The sustainable development goals
2010- UN recognised safe watr and sanitation as a human right, SDG intend to address the populations 'missed' by the MDGs
But much more needs to be understood as to who those
populations are, and if they are on the social margins, what are the socioeconomic and political structures that produce this distance from mainstream society. Answers to these questions can lead to policies and practices that seek to eradicate social inequalities. Furthermore, the SDGs assume that those who were counted as having access to safe water and sanitation by 2015, continue to have access. But do they? Evidence suggests that access and use of a latrine once initiated, will not necessarily be maintained
Disease preventative programs include improving hygiene such as handwashing, increasing access to safe water and safe sanitation, and education campaigns. These same programs need to include attention to community norms for sanitation usage, access to water, and the most marginal in the community to assure not simply surviving through greater environmental health, but surviving with dignity.