The WASHplus project engages in activities that lead to improvements in both water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) as well indoor air pollution (IAP). For greater impact WASHplus explores opportunities to integrate WASH into existing program such as HIV/AIDS, nutrition, and education.
Household Air Pollution (IAP)
Indoor Air Pollution - Exposure to biomass smoke increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infections in childhood, particularly pneumonia, which continue to be the single leading cause of death in children under five years. Indoor air pollution from household energy is ranked fourth in the list of serious threats to health in less developed countries for all ages—after malnutrition, unsafe sex, and unsafe water. The inefficient burning of wood and charcoal for cooking and heating also increases pressures on local natural resources, and exacerbates deforestation.
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH)
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) - The leading environment-related risk factors for mortality in children, those that are causally related and/or associated with diarrheal disease, newborn infection, malnutrition, and pneumonia, include inadequate water supply, unsafe drinking water, and poor sanitation and hygiene behaviors.
WASH and HIV Integration
WASH and HIV Integration - The negative impact of low access to safe drinking water, insufficient quantities of water for basic hygiene, and inadequate to sanitation are magnified for HIV-infected, immuno-compromised individuals. Further, HIV-infected individuals require more water. The added burden affects not only the HIV infected, but the entire family, increasing risk of diarrheal disease and lost productivity and impacting quality of life. Therefore, people living with HIV and households (PLHIV) affected by HIV and AIDS have a substantially greater need for WASH services: more water, safe water, easy access to water and sanitation, and proper hygiene.
WASH and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
WASH and NTD Integration - More than 1 billion people worldwide suffer from one or more painful, debilitating tropical diseases that disproportionately impact poor and rural populations. Many of these diseases have received less attention and funding when compared with others such as HIV, yet they still cause severe sickness and disability, compromise mental and physical development, contribute to childhood malnutrition, reduce school enrollment, and hinder economic productivity.
WASH and Nutrition
Integrating Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene into Nutrition Programming - Undernutrition is the underlying cause of 3.5 million child deaths each year (Black, 2008, The Lancet). A vicious cycle exists between diarrhea and undernutrition: children with diarrhea eat less and are less able to absorb the nutrients from their food; malnourished children are more susceptible to diarrhea when exposed to fecal material from their environment. Further, often the most vulnerable children do not have access to the health services that can mean the difference between life and death in the case of acute diarrhea.
WASH in Schools Integration
WASH in Schools Integration - Addressing improvements to water, sanitation, and hygiene education (WASH) in schools has been elevated to the global stage in recent years. However, more often than not, these conversations have been missing a key element: the education sector. Although the WASH and education sectors have different approaches, their end goals are the same: educating youth, keeping them healthy in a safe learning environment and creating productive members of society. Improving WASH (including deworming) services at schools helps improve access to quality education and increase economic potential for these and other reasons.