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Welcome Note

This edition of The Resource Spring is packed with news and resources related to WatSan, public health and the environment and I hope you will take a few minutes to read over the content and see what may be useful for you and your organizations. Updates on what’s been happening in the sector can be found in the national and international news sections.

Learning opportunities in the area of public health and climate change are available. Upcoming events for the next few months are also looking exciting. If you are planning to host any events or activities please feel free to let us know the details and we can publish them in The Resource Spring as well as on our facebook pages.  If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback on them we would also be pleased about it.

I hope you enjoy April’s edition of The Resource Spring and we look forward to hearing back from you. If you would like to include information in The Resource Spring please contact us through the details provided below.

S.M.A. Rashid
Executive Director
NGO Forum for Public Health

National News

Leading the Climate Change Resistance

Climate change is the harsh reality of today, and its impacts are undeniable for nations such as ours. Global warming is leading to unprecedented rise in sea level, and for a low lying nation like Bangladesh, that means widespread inundation. Changing weather patterns are also wreaking havoc on agricultural production which is dependent on regular patterns of rainfall, heat and cold. Frequency and intensity of droughts, floods and cyclones are on the rise. And millions of hapless victims are finding themselves in dire straits.

Bangladesh contributes very little to global warming – its emissions being less than 0.35% of the global total. But as countries around the globe continue to emit millions of tons of carbon, the impacts of climate change will keep worsening for Bangladesh. It was labeled as the most climate vulnerable nation according to the Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI-2011), which calculated the vulnerability of 170 countries to the impacts of climate change over the next 30 years. According to the Asian Development Bank's estimates, climate change may cost Bangladesh a 2% loss of GDP annually by 2050.

The impacts of climate change that vulnerable nations such as Bangladesh are experiencing today are primarily the results of historic emissions by developed nations during their path to development, but paying the blame game will get us nowhere. Making a stand against climate change today requires concerted effort by all states. Recognising this need for global action, developing and developed countries have made public pledges known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to fight climate change at their national level, in the largest international climate conference- COP 21- last year.

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Ruminants contribute fecal contamination to the urban household environment in Dhaka, Bangladesh

In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the sensitivity and specificity of three human, three ruminant, and one avian source-associated QPCR microbial source tracking assays were evaluated using fecal samples collected on site. Ruminant-associated assays performed well, while the avian and human assays exhibited unacceptable cross-reactions with feces from other hosts.

Subsequently, child hand rinses (n=44) and floor sponge samples (n=44) from low income-households in Dhaka were assayed for fecal indicator bacteria (enterococci, Bacteroidales, and Escherichia coli) and a ruminant-associated bacterial target (BacR). Mean enterococci concentrations were of 100 most probable number (MPN)/2 hands and 1000 MPN/225 cm2 floor. Mean concentrations of Bacteroidales were 106 copies/2 hands and 105 copies/225 cm2 floor. E. coli were detected in a quarter of hand rinse and floor samples. BacR was detected in 18% of hand rinse and 27% of floor samples.

Results suggest that effective household fecal management should account not only for human sources of contamination but also for animal sources. The poor performance of the human-associated assays in the study area calls into the question the feasibility of developing a human-associated marker in urban slum environments, where domestic animals are exposed to human feces that have been disposed in pits and open drains.

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Millions of people in Bangladesh still drinking arsenic-laced water

Nearly 20 million Bangladeshis are still drinking water poisoned with high levels of arsenic despite millions of wells being tested and hundreds of thousands of safe ones having been bored to avert a major health crisis, a new report has suggested.

The lack of progress in improving what the UN’s World Health Organisation called “the largest mass poisoning of a population in history” in the 1990s is blamed on government nepotism, rich country neglect and NGOs losing sight of the problem, says Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Latest estimates suggest 43,000 people in Bangladesh die each year from arsenic-related diseases. These include skin lesions, cancers, and cardiovascular and lung illnesses.

According to the government, 5 million village wells were tested between 2000-03, with pumps painted red or green according to whether they were safe or unsafe. In 2003, an estimated 20 million people drank arsenic-laced water.
But, says the report, all urgency to address the problem has disappeared and the rate of contamination is now much the same as it was in 2003. Recent studies have found 20 million people are still exposed to unsafe levels of arsenic contamination.

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A second-generation sanitation problem

Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in reducing open defecation to 1% through the special drives of the government and development partners, with active engagement of local government institutions, and communities over this decade. Despite these achievements, our struggle for sanitation will not come to an end. People mostly rely on on-­site sanitation which generates a mix of solid and liquid human wastes generally termed “faecal sludge.” Due to sanitation movement in Bangladesh, thousands of latrines have been constructed without thinking of the faecal sludge management generated in the pits or septic tanks. Now, this problem has been aggravated, eventually emerging as a second-generation sanitation problem.

People in general are not aware about the disposal of sludge and how it is impacting the surrounding environment. About 80,000 tons of faecal sludge is generated every day in our country, of which only 1% is being treated.
The environment is getting polluted by faecal sludge through this vicious cycle every day.

Less than one-fourth of Dhaka city is under the coverage of sewerage network. In areas with no sewerage network, more than half of the buildings don’t have any septic tanks and the sewer pipelines are directly connected either to the open drain or to the storm drainage system, polluting the surface water and environment.

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Learning Opportunities

Course name: Online Course on Ecological Sanitation

Description: A 10 week online course about planning, promoting, designing, operating and managing sanitation systems for residents in urban, peri-urban, slum or rural areas. The course is designed for mid-career professionals who deal with planning, promoting, designing, operating or managing sanitation systems for residents in urban, peri-urban, slum or rural areas.

Date: 2 May -2 September 2016
Cost:  € 850
Organised by: UNESCO-IHE

Course name: Communicating Across Cultures

Description: The session features cases of cultural misunderstanding, BLINK Model, group discussions and self-reflection for participants to better understand personal communication styles and behaviors and those of stakeholders , and to better navigate cultural challenges in working and communicating with international stakeholders.

Date: 21 June 2016
Organised by: The World Bank

Course name: Online Course: Adaptive Project Management for Development Organizations

Description: The course has duration of three weeks. Each week students will work on the activities and exercises required to meet the learning objectives. Participants require an average of one hour per day to complete the assigned activities. This course is specifically designed to focus on the practical application of project management concepts. Key topics of focus include overview of modern project management, developing a project plan and managing resources, monitoring progress, communicating to stakeholders, conducting effective meetings, updating project plans and managing project issues.

Date: 16 May - 30 June 2016
Cost: $125 
Organised by: PM for Devlopment

New Resources Available

The NRC library acts as a sector memory and contains a rich collection of resources with complete connectivity to a state-of-the-art Online Library Information System (OLIS). The physical library itself contains over 4,000 books, journals, articles and other related resources and is open to the public free of charge.

For a complete list of physical resources available visit our Online Library Information System or for online resources our PHED Database.

Personal Hygiene Care

Meeting the hygiene needs of patients is a fundamental aspect of nursing care. This practical and introductory guide outlines and emphasises the nursing skills required to meet the essential personal hygiene care needs of patients in various healthcare settings.

It explores care of the eyes, ears, mouth, nails and hair, and provides evidence-based rationales for each procedure. Methods of washing the patient are discussed, and bed-making and patient positioning is explored. Each chapter provides the necessary anatomy and physiology, as well as common conditions, safety issues, privacy and dignity, cultural and religious considerations and infection control issues.

Published by: Wiley-Blackwell

The book can be accessed through the link

Impact of Climate related Shocks and Stresses on Nutrition and Food Security in selected areas of Rural Bangladesh

The study - ‘Impact of climate related shocks and stresses on nutrition and food security in rural Bangladesh’ – was commissioned by the World Food Programme and conducted in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) and Helen Keller International (HKI). It was jointly funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and WFP. The objectives of the study converge with two pillars of the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009: Pillar 1 food security, social protection and health; and Pillar 6 research and knowledge management. Since its inception, the study was guided by a technical committee headed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and provided with feedback and suggestions at critical stages.

Published by: WFP, GOB, IFAD

The report can be accessed through the link

Innovations in Knowledge and Learning for Competitive Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific

Competitive advantage in a knowledge economy is dependent on the ability to innovate and create new knowledge products and services, and to find innovative applications for them. Higher education institutions in Asia and the Pacific, modelled on industrial age thinking that demands excellence in routinized capacities, lack the ability to innovate and create new knowledge enterprises. The transition to a knowledge economy is affecting the purpose, content, pedagogy, and methodologies of higher education. Nontraditional stakeholders such as professional bodies, industry experts, think tanks, research institutes, and field experts/practitioners are now involved not only in planning but in providing higher education services. The traditional model of “knowledge versus skills” is no longer relevant. Higher education programs must consider lived experiences, contextual knowledge, and indigenous knowledge.

Published by: ADB

The book can be accessed through the link


In this Issue ...

International News

Girls Across The Globe Are Missing School Because of Their Periods

Growing up in Connecticut, Sophia Grinvalds would pick a queue with a female cashier when she went shopping for tampons, just to avoid making her purchase in front of a male employee. 

But when she ended up working in Africa after graduation, she said she quickly realised that the "sense of fear or embarrassment" that comes along with menstruation and access to supplies in the U.S. can have astronomically bigger consequences for women and girls there. 

Grinvalds had been living in a remote village in Uganda for five months when she was met with an unpleasant surprise: Her period arrived, but her feminine-product supply had run out. 

"I did what any sensible person does," she recalled. "I sent my boyfriend into a village to go and find me some pads." 

After coming up empty at the local depots — six-foot-by-six-foot wooden shacks that sell everything from eggs to soap — her now-husband, Paul, hitched a ride on a motorcycle to find a merchant that had Grinvalds' needed supplies in stock. An errand that would have lasted 30 minutes or fewer back home in the U.S. ended up taking Paul more than three hours. 

That "rude awakening" about the availability of supplies prompted Grinvalds to ask some schoolmistresses she knew about what local women and girls did to manage their monthly periods. A "waterfall of information" followed. 

For the women and their female students, menstruation was "more of a barrier to participating in daily life than just a physiological experience," Grinvalds recalled. Without access to reliable menstrual products, these girls' schooling and work suffered. 

Read more

UN experts say improving water, sanitation are key to fighting Zika

United Nations human rights experts say improving water and sanitation services may be the best answer to addressing the outbreak of the Zika virus in Latin American and the Caribbean.
On Friday, the experts said such critical factors should not be in the shadow of hi-tech solutions being considered.

“We can engineer sterile mosquitoes or use sophisticated Internet tools to map data globally, but we should not forget that today 100 million people in [the region] still lack access to hygienic sanitation systems and 70 million people lack piped water in their places of residence,” Léo Heller, the Special UN Reporter on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation.

Highlighting a strong link between weak sanitation systems and the current outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, as well as dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya, Heller stressed that “the most effective way to tackle this problem is to improve the failing services.”

He noted that while the region has met the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target for water in 2010, advancements are still not reaching all.
Regarding sanitation, the UN said the MDG target remains unachieved and three million people still practice open defecation.

“Because of stricter definitions for the related goals within the framework of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development these will reveal an even more dramatic lack of access to safe water and sanitation in the region,” Heller warned.

“Governments in the region must speed up the improvement of water and sanitation conditions, in particular for the most vulnerable populations, in order to save lives in the face of this unfolding global health crisis,” he urged.

Read more

World Health Day 2016: WHO calls for global action to halt rise in and improve care for people with diabetes

The number of people living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries. Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity, WHO announced ahead of World Health Day.
WHO is marking its annual World Health Day (7 April), which celebrates the Organization’s founding in 1948, by issuing a call for action on diabetes. In its first “Global report on diabetes”, WHO highlights the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.

Health-promoting environments reduce risk factors :
Measures needed include expanding health-promoting environments to reduce diabetes risk factors, like physical inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthening national capacities to help people with diabetes receive the treatment and care they need to manage their conditions.
“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”
Diabetes is a chronic, progressive noncommunicable disease (NCD) characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar). It occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Read more

UN: Lack of hygiene kills one child every minute

Annually, more than 800,000 children under five die of diarrhea, this is what the official figures show, according to which, the main causes of death are sanitation and poor hygiene. For the first time this year the United Nations marked the World Toilet Day.

Official data show that some 2.5 billion people globally lack adequate sanitation. In this regard, the UN claims that sanitation is essential for human health and the environment, and sustainable development, dignity and opportunity.

"We need to urgently intensify our efforts with all stakeholders working together for fast, concrete results. And as we look beyond 2015, it is essential that sanitation be placed in the center of post-2015 development framework. The solutions should not be expensive or based on technology. There are many successful models that can be replicated and intensified. We must work to educate communities in risk and change on long term cultural perceptions and practices that do not belong to our modern world, "the UN message reads.

According to the UN, poor water quality and sanitation cost developing countries about $ 260 billion a year - 1.5 percent of their gross domestic product. On the other hand, every dollar invested can make a fivefold profit to maintain a healthy and productive population.

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Knowledge Corner

Guidelines for Knowledge Partnerships

ADB's long-term strategic framework, Strategy 2020, argues that knowledge solutions must be enriched through internal learning from operational practice and external learning from long-term knowledge partnerships. The Guidelines for Knowledge Partnerships offer a framework for strengthening such partnerships. They specify the essentials of designing for performance, articulate building blocks, and underscore success factors and special considerations. The guidelines are offered as a resource document and reference to ADB staff members in general. They may also help other organizations design and manage their knowledge partnerships better.

More information can be found on the website

On Internal Knowledge Markets

In large organizations, knowledge can move rapidly or slowly, usefully or unproductively. Those who place faith in internal knowledge markets and online platforms to promote knowledge stocks and flows should understand how extrinsic incentives can crowd out intrinsic motivation.

More information can be found on the website

Innovation in the Public Sector

Innovation is something that is new, capable of being implemented, and has a beneficial impact. It is not an event or activity; it is a concept, process, practice, and capability that defines successful organizations. Innovation in the public sector can help create value for society.

More information can be found on the website

Upcoming Events

21-22 May 2016, 2nd International Conference on Public Health: Issues, challenges, opportunities, prevention, awareness, Delhi, India

This conference is a premier forum for presenting of new research findings. This conference brings together avid researchers from all over the world. All contribution should be of high quality, Original and not published elsewhere or submitted for publication.

Organised by: Krishi Sanskriti  

More information can be found on the website

25-27 May 2016, International Conference on Agriculture and Environment: Food, Water, Soil, Air, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

The conference is designed to cover all aspects of agricultural and environmental sciences with a clear focus on interdependent areas of food production, water, soil and air. The ICAE 2016 aims to bring together scientists, researchers, subject-matter experts, academicians, students and practitioners for information interchange by sharing their views, experiences and research results in Agriculture- and Environment-related areas, and also for enhancing scientific collaborations around the world.

Organised by: New Zealand House of Science

More information can be found on the website

25-27 July 2016, International Conference on Water Pollution and Treatment 

2016 International Conference on Water Pollution and Treatment (ICWPT 2016) will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during 25-27 July, 2016. ICWPT 2016 is sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Chemical, Biological & Environmental Engineering Society (APCBEES). It is one of the leading international conferences for presenting novel and fundamental advances in the fields of Water Pollution and Treatment. It also serves to foster communication among researchers and practitioners working in a wide variety of scientific areas with a common interest in improving Water Pollution and Treatment and related techniques.

Organised by: CBEES 

More information can be found on the website

Useful Links

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