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  • Identifying Pathways of Transmission and Prevention—the SaniPath way

    From the blog post by Habib Yakubu, CGSW Fellow

    For the original article click here

    My work takes me to low-income urban communities all over the world, from India to Ghana, wherever possible fecal contamination could lead to the rise of diseases that sicken or kill. That’s because I work on the SaniPath project, an assessment which aims to increase the evidence base available to sanitation policy makers and implementers in low-income urban communities. It is designed to assess public health risks related to poor sanitation and to help prioritize sanitation investments based on the exposures that have the greatest public health impact.

    Working on the SaniPath project leads me to see the worst of waterborne and foodborne diseases like typhoid. Typhoid is a devastating disease that disproportionately affects the poor and vulnerable in low- to middle-income countries. Recently, considerable advances in typhoid vaccines have led to the prequalification of the first typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) by the World Health Organization (WHO) and a commitment of $85 million in funding for TCV introduction in endemic countries.

    But we need more than vaccines to eliminate typhoid in the poorest areas. Typhoid requires an integrated approach that includes new vaccines as well as water, sanitation and hygiene interventions. There are many extraordinary benefits of improved water, sanitation and hygiene. One of them is that, when we use them to prevent typhoid, they could also prevent multiple other waterborne and foodborne diseases like cholera and dysentery. By integrating interventions, we can maximize impact, reduce costs, and get more bang for our buck.

    Preventing typhoid is personal for me. In 2012, I had a family member who contracted and suffered from multiple bouts of recurrent typhoid for about two years. Her business as a trader took her across West African cities and slums, exposing her to unhygienic food and unclean water, which led her to her first typhoid diagnosis. To try to avoid having typhoid again, she was advised to stay away from street food, only eat hot food and drink boiled or bottled water. Although she strictly abided  by these rules, she still ended up back in the hospital multiple times with typhoid. Complicating matters, some of the hospitals might not have correctly diagnosed her. Finally, she decided to stop trading in areas with high rates of typhoid and stopped contracting the disease. Her story shows us that effective typhoid prevention requires a multi-disciplinary approach. It also requires us to know much more about typhoid and how it is transmitted in poor urban areas. We need to identify all the relevant transmission routes, or exposure pathways, of typhoid to determine where and how to effectively intervene and prevent typhoid transmission.

    The SaniPath approach looks at multiple fecal-oral transmission pathways. For example, our experience from Accra, Ghana showed that local produce had high levels of fecal contamination and posed a greater risk of exposure to fecal contamination than municipal drinking water, meaning that a person living in Accra might need an intervention focused on food safety more than a water-based intervention in order to prevent typhoid. In other places where typhoid is endemic, the opposite might be true.

    Typhoid and its transmission can be surprisingly complicated. Just as the transmission of typhoid doesn’t take just one path, neither can our attempts to prevent typhoid. Water, sanitation and hygiene interventions are just as necessary to prevent typhoid as new vaccines. Crucially, we also need the information and evidence base to know how to prioritize interventions to prevent typhoid. By using all of these tools available to us, we can use an integrated approach to take on typhoid.

    Residents of Ndirande, a township located almost 3km from Malawi’s commercial city of Blantyre are captured at Nasolo River. The river is one of the main sources of water for household chores for most families.

  • Water Challenges in Puerto Rico: Before & Beyond Hurricane Maria

    Join CGSW for a special #worldwaterday lecture and panel discussion.

    March 28, 2018

    4:00 p.m. Reception begins
    4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Presentation and panel discussion

    Lawrence P. and Ann Estes Klamon Room,  Claudia Nance Rollins Building, Rollins School of

    Join us for an interactive session of presentations and discussions about the water situation in Puerto Rico featuring:

    Carl A. Soderberg, P.E. –  Graduate of Georgia Tech and a licensed engineer in Puerto Rico who has has spent 45 yrs. in environmental protection, including 24 yrs. at the US EPA and 16 yrs. in the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board.  Mr. Soderberg will discuss the water resource issues in Puerto Rico, including fresh water availability, assimilative capacity of rivers and streams, water hyacinths and many more characteristics of water in Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria.

    Juan Villeta-Trigo, Ph.D. – Economist who is the founding member of the Puerto Rico Water and Health Institute at the School of Environmental Affairs of the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico.  Dr. Villeta-Trigo will discuss the economic impacts of the 2015 drought in Puerto Rico.

    Ashley Andujar, MHSA – CDC Health Communications Specialist who was deployed to Puerto Rico after the emergency to coordinate health communication messaging regarding waterborne disease risks.

    This event is open to the public. Free parking is available after 4pm in the Micheal Street Parking deck

  • Welcome new CGSW Partner, The Taskforce for Global Health

    The Task Force for Global Health improves health conditions for vulnerable populations around the world, especially the poor. Its eight programs focus on controlling and eliminating debilitating infectious diseases and building durable systems that protect and promote health. The Task Force partners closely with the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector to eliminate neglected tropical diseases, specifically trachoma, river blindness, lymphatic filariasis, and soil-transmitted helminths. These programs benefit from significant in-kind donations of antibiotic and anti-parasitic medicines from major pharmaceutical companies. In 2016, The Task Force received the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize – the world’s largest award of its kind – in recognition of its extraordinary contributions toward alleviating human suffering.

    Learn more

  • Congratulations to Dr. Bethany Caruso, her recent publication was featured on cover of the July 2017 issue of the Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health

    Assessing Women’s Negative Sanitation Experiences and Concerns: The Development of a Novel Sanitation Insecurity Measure

    Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 14, Issue 7 (July 2017)

    Lack of access to acceptable sanitation facilities can expose individuals, particularly women, to physical, social, and mental health risks. While some of the challenges have been documented, standard metrics are needed to determine the extent to which women have urination- and defecation-related concerns and negative experiences. Such metrics also are needed to assess the effectiveness of interventions to mitigate them. We developed a sanitation insecurity measure to capture the range and frequency of women’s sanitation-related concerns and negative experiences. Research was conducted in rural Odisha, India with women across various life course stages to reflect a range of perspectives. This paper documents the mixed data collection methods and the exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses we employed to arrive at a final measure. The final sanitation insecurity measure includes 50 items across seven factors that reflect the physical environment, the social environment, and individual-level constraints. Most factor scores were significantly higher for unmarried women and for women who lacked access to functional latrines, indicating social and environmental influence on experiences. This measure will enable researchers to evaluate how sanitation insecurity affects health and to determine if and how sanitation interventions ameliorate women’s concerns and negative experiences associated with sanitation. View Full-Text

  • NEW! Watch a webinar about the WASH Certificate Program at Emory!

    In 2012, the CGSW introduced the Certificate in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) at the Rollins School of Public Health.  The WASH Certificate is a rigorous, self-guided certificate program that aims to increase the competitiveness of RSPH students for WASH-related careers.  Graduate students pursuing the Certificate complete a minimum set of credit hours of WASH-related coursework, attend CGSW seminars and complete a WASH-related thesis, practicum or capstone. For detailed information about the WASH Certificate program, please click here

    NEW! To watch the webinar about the WASH Certificate Program, click here.

  • Dr. Matt Gribble awarded USGS grant to study arsenic exposure from domestic and supply wells

    This collaboration between earth scientists and public health scientists will determine associations between predicted well-water arsenic exposures and the outcomes of cancer incidence (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results SEER Registries), cancer mortality (National Atlas of Cancer Mortality), and preterm and low birthweight births using public data from Arizona, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. Arsenic predictions will be from boosted regression trees to predict the probability of a high-arsenic (>10 μg/L) private domestic or public supply well.

    For more information: https://powellcenter.usgs.gov/


  • WSSCC will celebrate Women’s Week for International Women’s Day 2017 from March 6 – 10. Ahead of this, a webinar session will explore the ways in which women experience stress during their sanitation routine

    WSSCC will celebrate Women’s Week for International Women’s Day 2017 from March 6 – 10. Ahead of this, a webinar session will explore the ways in which women experience stress during their sanitation routine: Thursday 2 March 2017 from 2pm – 3pm (CET) (8-9am New York; 1-2pm London; 2-3pm Brussels; 3-4pm Johannesburg; 4-5pm Nairobi; 6:30-7:30pm Mumbai)

    Please register here

    Do you know what the main stressors are for women and girls during their daily sanitation routines? How do they cope with them?
    On March 2nd, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council will host the first in a series of four webinars for 2017. This session will discuss the psychological, social, and health impacts of sanitation routines among women of reproductive age in urban slums, rural villages and indigenous villages.
    Using the life-course approach, during the hour-long session participants will be guided to understand the influence of age, context and social processes on a woman’s experience and family life, and how those factors collectively impact the experience of sanitation. The conceptual model of sanitation-related psychosocial stress will also be shared.
    Available on the Skype for Business platform, the session will be presented by Dr. Kathleen O’Reilly, Associate Professor at Texas A&M University, and Dr. Krushna Chandra Sahoo from the Asian Institute of Public Health. The Moderator is Archana Patkar, Programme Manager, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.
    The webinar series is open to governments, experts, practitioners and trainers in sanitation and hygiene; academia and research institutions and civil society partners.
    A session will take place every quarter during the year in the form of an hour-long webinar with invited experts, in English. The format is a 15-minute presentation followed by interactive Q&A sessions.

    Reading ahead: If you would like to know more about the topic ahead of the discussion, here are two relevant readings.

    1. Sanitation-related psychosocial stress: A grounded theory study of women across the life-course in Odisha, India
    2. Briefing note on “Social and psychological impact of limited access to sanitation”
    To learn more, visit our website wsscc.org.

  • Congratulations Dr. Karen Levy, 2017-2018 AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow

    ATLANTA — Karen Levy, PhD, MPH, associate professor of Environmental Health at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, was recently selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as a 2017-2018 Public Engagement Fellow.  Levy is one of 15 infectious disease researchers in the second cohort of the AAAS Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement with Science.

    AAAS recognizes researchers who have demonstrated leadership and excellence in their research careers, and interest in promoting meaningful dialogue between science and society. Future cohorts will focus on other areas of science, particularly topics with a science-society nexus and scholarship in related communication research. The new follows will be recognized at a reception on Thursday, February 16th at 4pm at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.

    Levy’s work explores how environmental factors affect the transmission and incidence of infectious diseases, focusing on the ecology and epidemiology of food- and water-borne diseases. She leads projects in both international and domestic study sites, including studies on transmission of diarrheal pathogens, household water quality, climate and waterborne disease, the spread of antibiotic resistance, the gut microbiome, and safety of agricultural irrigation water.

    Levy earned her PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007 and has since published several op-eds and news stories in major media outlets and served as a Public Voices fellow at Emory in 2012-2014.

    “Dr. Levy’s essential contributions to infectious disease research and leadership are widely recognized,” says James Curran, MD, MPH, who is the James W. Curran Dean of Public Health at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. “Her selection as an AAAS fellow further highlights her outstanding commitment to positive outcomes and advancements within the field.”

    The new AAAS Public Engagement Fellows will convene in June 2017 at AAAS headquarters in Washington, DC for a week of intensive public engagement and science communication training, networking, and public engagement plan development. After the training, AAAS Public Engagement Fellows will return to their institutions with resources and connections to develop and implement public engagement activities, opportunities for training other scientists in their communities, and increased capacity for public engagement leadership. AAAS staff will provide ongoing support and continuing professional development throughout their fellowship year. For the article from SCIENCE, click here.

  • Australian project to improve water delivery in urban slums gets $27m funding

    An Australian project that aims to revolutionise water delivery and sanitation in urban slums has been awarded $27m in funding.

    Prof Rebekah Brown, the director of the Sustainable Development Institute at Melbourne’s Monash University, has been awarded a $14m research grant by the Wellcome Trust’s Our Planet Our Health awards in the UK. A further $13m from the Asian Development Bank would cover infrastructure and construction costs.

    The large, multidisciplinary project – with contribution from Stanford and Emory universities in the US – aims to revolutionise water delivery to slums in urban areas, and will help rebuild 24 settlements in Indonesia and Fiji over five years.

    To read the entire article, click here

  • Wallstreet Marketwatch video segment on Norovirus. featuring Dr. Christine Moe

    Dr. Christine Moe, Director, Center for Global Safe WASH was recently featured on Marketwatch in a video interview about Norovirus. You can watch it here.

  • CGSW joins BabyWASH Coalition Launch

    The Center for Global Safe WASH is joining more than 25 organisations to launch a global coalition which will call for greater collaboration among those working to keep children and women healthy in the first 1,000 days of life*.

    The BabyWASH Coalition is a five-year initiative comprising organisations across civil society, UN organisations, funders, academics and the private sector. It is focused on increasing essential integration between programming, policy-making and funding in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene; early childhood development; nutrition; and maternal newborn and child health.

    Millions of children around the world die each year from preventable causes. The Coalition’s members say that half a million children and 30,000 mothers annually could survive and thrive through better and more integrated approaches to maternal and young child health.

    “There is no time more important in a child’s life than his or her first 1,000 days,” said Sarina Prabasi, CEO of WaterAid America. “If we are truly committed to making a lifelong impact on the health and wellbeing of children—putting their needs ahead of our own—we must also be committed to an approach that is as integrated and multifaceted as the needs of the children we serve. It is unconscionable that health facilities lack safe water, basic sanitation and hygiene facilities, along with other basic services that can mean the difference between life and death for so many children worldwide. Only by putting the needs of the child first will we be able to deliver fully on the promises of the Sustainable Development Goals, and genuinely support the health of women and children around the world.”

  • Dr. Amy Kirby on NPR WABE 90.1 interviewed about lead testing in ATL Public Schools

    In response to unsafe lead levels in the water supply in Flint, Michigan, the Atlanta Public Schools decided to test its water sources for lead. The district has received about half the results. So far, most sources have tested within acceptable levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Sources with lead levels above the federal limit are taken out of commission.

    “APS is doing the exact right thing,” said Amy Kirby, a research assistant professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health. “They’re testing multiple sites in each school, so different fountains and different faucets. My concern is this not be a one-time test, because you can’t clear a school forever.” For more click here.

  • 2016 Distinguished Lectureship in Environmental Health – Dr. Marc Edwards: “A Tale of Two Cities: Washington DC (2001-04) and Flint, Michigan (2014-15) Drinking Water Crisis

    Dr. Edwards is an expert on water treatment and corrosion. His research team exposed lead contamination of public drinking water supplies in Washington, DC and Flint, MI. Edwards was named a MacArthur Genius in 2007, was awarded the Walter Huber Research Prize from the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2003, the State of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2006, and the Praxis Award in Professional Ethics from  Villanova University in 2010. Time magazine dubbed him “The Plumbing Professor” and featured him as one of the United States’ most innovative scientists in 2004. In 2013, Edwards was the 9th recipient (in a quarter century) of the IEEE Barus Award for “courageously defending the public interest at great personal risk.”

    Dr. Edwards delivered an inspiring and provocative talk today as the Distinguished Lecturer in Environmental Health for 2016. He told the story of his involvement in exposing both the Flint and DC water crises, to a packed crowd at Rollins School of Public Health Auditorium. To watch the entire presentation, please click here.


    World Water Day 2015: Flint Water: What Happens When Regulations Fail?
    Global Handwashing Day 2016: Raise a Hand for Global Handwashing Day!
    World Toilet Day 2015 – Cop a Squat and lecture & panel discussion with visiting sanitation experts from SWA, WHO, World Bank moderated by Susan Davis, Improve International
    World Water Day 2014 – GREEN WATER: Examining Health, Human Rights, and Business Impacts of Water Privatization 
    World Water Day 2013 – Water, Sanitation, Hygiene: Transforming Lives

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