From joint thinking to joint action: a call to action on improving water, sanitation, and hygiene for maternal and newborn health.
Bottom Line: Yael Velleman and colleagues argue for stronger integration between the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and maternal and newborn health sectors.Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Affiliation: WaterAid, London, United Kingdom.
Yael Velleman and colleagues argue for stronger integration between the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and maternal and newborn health sectors. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Mentions: While the importance of hygiene is increasingly being recognized, far less consideration has been given to the role of the complete WASH package in relation to MNH outcomes in both home and facility birth settings. A recent WHO rapid assessment of WASH coverage in health care facilities in 54 low-income countries found that 38% of these facilities lacked an available improved water source . In some low-income settings, many more women give birth in domestic environments than in health care facilities, and these are often without any basic water and/or sanitation. Figure 1 shows estimates for the proportion of births that occur in homes without improved water and/or sanitation for four countries (Bangladesh, India, Malawi, and Tanzania) . These countries were selected as they are the focus for an on-going research programme (the SHARE research consortium); they also provide case studies from the two regions that have the lowest levels of WASH coverage and highest maternal and neonatal disease burden (sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia). In all four countries, only a minority of home births occur in environments where adequate water and sanitation are available. This is of major importance in low-income settings where the burden of health care-associated infections is potentially much higher , as is maternal and newborn mortality.