Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) interventions are critical for poverty reduction and sustainable development in low and middle-income countries, but interventions often fail to take a holistic approach where the roles of humans, animals and the environment are addressed and apply One Health perspectives.

The purpose of this project is to establish a transdisciplinary network of Swedish and international collaborators in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Mozambique to exchange knowledge and experiences and to develop concepts in applying a One Health approach to WaSH to reduce zoonotic diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The network will stimulate a science-policy dialogue and set the foundation for innovative research and capacity development in addressing neglected links between human, animal and environment health relevant to WaSH interventions in low- and middle-income countries in particular. The network aims to bring different perspectives to the challenge of reducing zoonotic disease and AMR through WaSH interventions while also enhancing environment health by the following specific objectives.

Challenge

WaSH interventions are viewed as critical for poverty reduction and sustainable development. Infectious diseases, AMR and WaSH are closely intertwined, as improved WaSH both reduces infectious diseases and the need for antibiotic treatment and their concurrent selective pressure and thereby reduces exposure to resistant bacteria. However, recent WaSH intervention trials indicate that environmental exposures and interactions that drive diseases and AMR have to be better understood. In particular, the role of animals and animal excreta in the spread of disease and AMR is increasingly recognized, but under-researched.

Sanitation interventions tend to address only the need for latrines and health risks related to human faeces. Most interventions have failed to include health risks that emerge from living and working closely with animals. Animals contribute to the spreading of pathogens from human faeces, present important health risks due to their own excreta and undermine environmental sustainability through nutrient pollution of water bodies, contributing to eutrophication. A safe and productive reuse of local fertilizer resources could instead strengthen agricultural production and food security.

Partners

  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Sweden
  • Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), Sweden
  • AfricSanté
  • Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
  • National Institute of Health, Mozambique
  • WaterAid West Africa

Funding

The network has been awarded funding from SLU Global and Formas.

Webinar organized on 17 March 2022 on WASH, One Health, food production and zoonoses.
Video: SEI / YouTube.