The Impact of Poor Sanitation on Nutrition – Policy Brief


With 165 million children suffering from chronic undernutrition (being stunted) and 52 million suffering from acute malnutrition (being wasted) (UNICEF et al., 2012), more concerted and cross-sectoral action is needed. Improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in the context of nutrition programming offers one important opportunity to do this. A recent systematic review of 14 studies on WASH interventions in ten low and middle income countries, for example, found suggestive evidence that WASH interventions positively affect height-for-age scores in children under five years of age (Dangour et al., 2013). This paper summarises the evidence for the impact of poor sanitation on nutritional outcomes and highlights the potential offered by greater integration of WASH within nutrition policy and programmes.

Key recommendations include:PSN

  • The post-2015 development agenda provides an opportunity for donors, aid agencies, and national governments to foster cross-sectoral collaboration in WASH and nutrition, including knowledge sharing and collaborative programs.
  • The nutritional significance of sanitation can no longer be overlooked. Practitioners from nutrition and WASH should collaborate on tackling the underlying causes of undernutrition and put a greater focus on prevention of undernutrition in addition to treatment.
  • Gaps in evidence on the sanitation-nutrition nexus must be filled with high quality studies in order to spur greater commitment and investment in evidence-based impactful interventions.

Read the entire document here: The Impact of Poor Sanitation and Nutrition